CM Punk on his UFC debut: 'I just do better in high-pressure situations'

BY Damon Martin • February 4, 2016

As Mickey Gall prepares to meet Mike Jackson at UFC Fight Night on Saturday, CM Punk is anxiously awaiting the outcome because that means he's one step closer to finally making his UFC debut.

The one-time WWE superstar has been learning mixed martial arts under head coach Duke Roufus for over a year now in anticipation of making his first appearance inside the Octagon.

Punk has been promised that if Gall is victorious, that will be his first opponent at an event later this year -- likely UFC 199 in June or UFC 200 in July. Punk admits he doesn't know much about Gall yet, but he will be sitting cage side in Las Vegas on Saturday night to not only watch his potential opponent, but study his tendencies in action.

"I saw the one fight, I know he trains with good guys and he seems like a good kid," Punk told FOX Sports. "We'll hopefully try to dig up more footage on him as time goes on. He's a well-rounded guy but I think it's one of those things where we're not going to so much worry about everything he's good at and worry about myself and worry about everything that I'm good at.

"I'll be studying for sure. I might even wear glasses."

As much pressure as Punk has on his shoulders to show up and perform after all the hype from his signing with the UFC, he also knows there's going to be a spotlight on Gall and Jackson like they've never seen before.

While both fighters are getting acclimated to the business of UFC promotion, stepping into the Octagon and fighting with millions of people watching from around the world and the thousands packed into an arena has folded veterans with 10 times the experience of Gall or Jackson.

If there's one big advantage Punk knows he'll have going into his fight over Gall or potentially Jackson, it's his ability to handle the bright lights and the big show feeling of the UFC. He's performed on those huge stages before and according to Punk, that's where he's at his best.

"I just do better in high-pressure situations and it's weird for me to comment on it because I can't understand people being freaked out by that," Punk said.  "Just because that's been my life. I don't see the big deal in it, but it might wind up being a factor. They talk about first fight jitters or Octagon shock or whatever they want to call it -- that might happen to me. It might happen to them 10 fold. We'll see."

If Gall is victorious on Saturday night, he'll likely make some sort of statement about Punk in his post-fight interview, and that's where the promotion for their fight will officially begin. Gall has already stated in a past interview with FOX Sports that he believes he'll finish Punk inside one round and the former WWE wrestler takes no offense to that statement.

Punk says he'll predict the same thing because that's the confidence fighters are supposed to have in themselves.

If Gall decides to make things more personal, Punk is no stranger to verbal warfare either, but he doesn't need to go that route for his UFC debut and would rather focus on the fight and the task at hand.

"The potential is there but I've got nothing against this kid. If people are tuning in for that, it's not personal," Punk said. "It's not personal unless he makes it personal. It's not personal for me, it's just business. I'm going to punch him in the face and I'm going to choke him and I've got no prediction whether it happens in the first, second or third (round) but it will happen within that 15 minutes.

"He's got to say the same thing. You don't go into a fight saying 'this guy's going to beat me with leg kicks.' I'm just happy the kid didn't say something stupid like I'm going to stand there and bang. Because out of all the things MMA fighters could say, that's probably my least favorite. I'm going to stand there and bang."