Mickey Gall, a 2-0 fighter who faces the high-profile 37 year old UFC rookie C.M. Punk a week from Saturday at UFC 203, says he’s not impressed with footage he’s seen of Punk’s workouts during the FS1 documentary series, “The Evolution of Punk.”
“I’m not particularly impressed, the way he moved,” Gall said in today’s media conference call. “I’m sure he’s improved tremendously since that footage. I know when he gets into the fight and we get into the shit, I know I’ll be able to expose those.”
He added that Punk and his wife seem nice enough, though. “It’s a cool show,” he said. “Punk and his wife seem like likable people.”
Punk, when asked if he’s aware of social media and MMA press criticism of his fighting techniques shown during the documentary, defended himself.
“When it was shot, pre back surgery, [I was] walking around with a herniated disk, [with] 15 percent power in my left leg,” Punk said. “You know, it’d be like me watching one of Mickey’s tapes and be expecting to fight that guy. He’s not going to be the same guy from his last fight and I’m not going to be the same guy you saw in the television show.”
The TV show was shot last year before Punk’s back surgery, so it’s safe to say he’s progressed considerably since then.
Gall was asked whether he think Punk has an advantage in regards to the big fight environment, since Punk is used to big crowds and the spotlight.
“It’s the same as any other fight,” Gall said. “He has experience fighting in front of large groups of people, I mean performing. I’ve been fighting in front of large groups of people. I’ve had fights with over 100 friends and family. That’s more nerve wracking. We’ll be standing across from each other trying to kill each other, within the rules.”
Keller’s Analysis: I’ve thought the advantages that Punk would have going into this fight included having been in big spotlight moments before in front of huge crowds, so the nerves would be different than a typical rookie fighter. That said, it’s a lot different going in with an opponent who declares he wants to “try to kill you, within the rules,” than the pressure of performing and putting on a simulated fight. Both carry risks, but the mindset is different. The big crowd itself will likely a virtual non-factor for Punk, though, whereas with Gall, this is easily the biggest moment of his career in terms of the atmosphere and that could be something he isn’t fully appreciating at this time. I think Punk was entirely right to point out that his techniques a year or so ago aren’t where he is now. I would have liked to have heard him maybe give a couple of specific examples, perhaps in a self-deprecating way, of something he groans at from last year that’s adjusted this year, just to give off a sense of self-awareness and humor about how green he was back then.