Fans will be eager to see what improvements Phil Brooks (also known as CM Punk) has made to his game when the former World Wrestling Entertainment star turned mixed martial artist steps back into the Octagon to face Mike Jackson at UFC 225 in Chicago on June 9 at the United Center in Chicago.
The two men have a few things in common as each made their Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2016 and both were submitted by rear-naked choke by Micky Gall in the first round. Punk did slightly better than Jackson, lasting 2:14 seconds compared to Jackson, who was submitted in 45 seconds.
The pair will fight in Punk’s hometown of Chicago and Jackson recently appeared on “The MMA Hour” to give his thoughts on the match while promising to inflict another loss on the former WWE star’s record.
Jackson intends to knock out Punk and insists there is no bad blood between the two, despite the fact that Punk called him “a can” after Gall beat him in 2016.
“I’m not going in there to submit him,” Jackson said. “I’m not going in there to choke him out. I have no animosity or ill will towards Phil. For me, again, he called me a can. It wasn’t like it was someone of stature calling me a can, I can laugh it off, OK whatever.
“Again, he has never been in a fight. He has never been in a fight before the Gall fight, an actual unscripted fight. For someone like that to call me a can, I take that as disrespect. That’s like me deciding one day I want to be a wrestler and I walk into Vince McMahon’s office and I’m like, ‘Alright, I want to go wrestle Brock Lesnar for the belt and I want you to put me over.’ I wouldn’t do that. I would have to pay my dues and work my way up.”
In 2016, after Punk announced that he would be making a move to the Octagon, the UFC matched Jackson and Gall who was a legitimate prospect who came out of UFC president Dana White’s “Lookin’ for a Fight” show. The winner would be offered the opportunity to fight Punk.
Even though Punk lasted longer than Jackson in his fight with Gall, Jackson said the fact he was submitted quicker doesn’t make a difference.
“As far as lasting longer, I mean look at his face and look at my face,” Jackson said. “He’s the one who took more damage. So I mean, that’s inconsequential. It’s irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. But for me, I know I’m a better fighter, I’m gonna bring the bigger toolbox and he’s going night-night.”
By all reports, Punk has been training hard at Roufusport with teammate and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis claiming Punk was the hardest worker in their gym.
Jackson is still irritated that Punk called him “a can” and is using that as his motivation for the fight.
“For that person to call me a can, I took that as a sign of disrespect,” he said. “Again, we’re in the fight business and you disrespect somebody that just happens to be in your weight class, we’ve gotta fight.”