UFC 203 drew enough PPV buys to more than pay for C.M. Punk’s $500,000 paycheck, and he’s expressed he wants to fight again. Mike Jackson, who lost to Mickey Gall, says he’d like to take on Punk next.
Paige VanZant, who beat Beck Rawlings last month on UFC on Fox, says she thinks Punk should be given another UFC fight. She also, though, thinks he’s too old to be a serious contender.
“I love C.M. Punk,” she tells TMZ (link). “I wanted him to do well. I think he’s just a little too old for it.”
She said he showed his inexperience at UFC 203. “He came out there a little too aggressive and confident,” she said. “You just can’t teach jiu jitsu in two years. He has a chance. There are a lot of people out there who he could do a lot better against, somebody who doesn’t have such a high level jiu jitsu background.”
That’s the argument Jackson has made. Although Dana White has said he doesn’t necessarily want to feature Punk again on a UFC event, there is definitely money to be made and, as Jackson pointed out, the logical next opponent is him – the other fighter with an 0-1 professional record who also lost to Mickey Gall.
VanZant says Punk’s number one task is to get better at jiu jitsu. “He needs to work on his jiu jitsu,” she said. “It’s going to take a while.”
As for any jealousy issues over Punk getting featured on a PPV with zero pro fight experience, VanZant didn’t see it as a bad thing. “It’s an entertainment industry,” she said. “Punk is an entertainer and he puts on a show. If he brings in more fans to the UFC. that means more money for the rest of us.” She said it’s “fun” that he is part of UFC.
Keller’s Analysis: A lot of fighters would love a chance to beat up Punk and earn a higher profile, but there is something compelling about seeing the fighter who got tapped out in just over two minutes to Gall fight the guy who lost in less than a minute to Gall to the same rear naked choke earlier this year. If they put it on an FS1 Fight Night or a UFC on Fox card, it’d likely draw a big rating.
Jackson would likely bring out a side of Punk that MMA fans didn’t get to see the first time around – his trash-talking ability. Jackson went after Punk hard earlier this year before he himself lost to Mickey Gall. (“I’m the guy that will come in here and end that journey real quick with one punch.”) They could add some pro wrestling-style stakes to the fight and say the winner gets to be color commentator for a future live UFC telecast, as both have interest in doing that. Jackson has said so explicitly that is his end-goal.
If Punk were to look impressive and win, his third fight could be moved to a PPV again and they could likely pop another big buyrate increase. VanZant “get it” when it comes to Punk adding interest to MMA because his story is so different and he has such a built in fan following.