Who should UFC book against C.M. Punk for his likely second MMA fight?
MICHAEL HISCOE, MMATorch contributor
The easy answer for C.M. Punk is to trot out Mike Jackson and hope Punk doesn’t embarrass himself, but I would think bigger if I were UFC. I don’t think there’s much point in trying to find a winnable fight for Punk because he’s so inexperienced, so why bother? Just book a fight that will be fun watch. There’s a fight for Punk that makes almost no sense, but I just can’t get it out of my head. I would book Punk against B.J. Penn. Penn is currently booked against Yair Rodriguez and will likely get beaten badly. Assuming Penn is willing to fight again after that, Punk is a good option to get Penn one last win, but the fact that Punk is naturally larger may level the playing field somewhat. Penn looked bad enough in his last fight against Frankie Edgar that you may be able to convince people Punk can win, as sad as that may be. I like this fight even though I don’t expect it to happen.
ROBERT VALLEJOS, MMATorch contributor
It’s very difficult to book a UFC fight for a fighter that is perceived as among the worst in the sport. With that said, I do believe C.M. Punk can be a valuable asset to the UFC. In a perfect world, I would once again build a reality show around Punk. However, I would structure it in a similar vein to “The Ultimate Fighter.” Fans might be able to get behind an authentic version of Punk progressing through his MMA journey. Unfortunately, “The Evolution of Punk” failed to capture the essence of why Punk is a star. In order for UFC fans to get the full C.M. Punk experience, they need to see a grouchy, anti-establishment, bitter, yet overachieving C.M. Punk the professional wrestling fans miss.
WADE KELLER, MMATorch editor
Now that Mickey Gall beat Sage Northcutt decisively, perhaps there idea of giving Punk another shot is more palatable to those who felt he didn’t belong. Gall’s win last weekend opens the possibility that Punk is better than his performance against Gall showed. So if Punk wants to fight, and UFC is willing, then put him in the Octagon again, but time against someone at the very lowest level of threshold to even make it on a UFC prelim show, and put the fight on Fox or FS1. In fairness, he shouldn’t take a scarce PPV slot from another fighter. I know the argument that there’s PPV buys at stake, but so is UFC’s trust and goodwill with their fanbase that they will only sacrifice the integrity of the sport and the system so much for money. Put Punk on an FS1 card, give it modest hype, and against someone we’ve barely or never heard of. If Punk wins, rinse and repeat three more times before putting him on PPV again. Which is unlikely to happen. But after all the hype in his first fight, I think there is curiosity to see him again, and considering how good Gall might actually be, it’s more justifiable to give Punk that second chance.
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