Former WWE superstar and professional wrestler CM Punk had his second mixed martial arts fight over the weekend at UFC 225, and once again fell short against Mike Jackson.
Punk and Jackson both entered the bout sporting an 0-1 professional MMA record, with each losing to Mickey Gall by first-round submission beforehand. “The Truth” was essentially the only fighter with comparable experience to Punk, and so expectations were a bit higher this time around for the former wrestler.
However, Jackson pieced him up for three rounds, winning all of the judges’ scorecards 30-26.
Punk’s Jiu-Jitsu coach Daniel Wanderley has worked with the former WWE star for years now, and after Saturday night’s loss, is advising Punk to consider other options outside of mixed martial arts -- namely competitive Jiu-Jitsu:
“I hope he continues training and maybe enters a jiu-jitsu competition, something he has always talked about,” Wanderley told MMAFighting’s Guilherme Cruz. “I hope he comes back with a good mindset and keeps training jiu-jitsu because that’s good for his life. I think that’s a perfect sport for him.
“I think he should continue training kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, but training for a [MMA] fight is too hard. I wish he would go on to compete in jiu-jitsu because you face opponents at your age, your skill level, your belt rank, so you don’t fight someone more experienced than you. That’s my recommendation for him.”
Punk gutted it out and showed some serious heart against Jackson, who hurt and battered the 39-year-old for three long, arduous rounds. It was far from the prettiest fight in UFC history, and fight fans actually excoriated the promotion’s decision to include Punk vs. Jackson on the PPV portion of UFC 225.
That toughness and heart Punk displayed after getting bloodied and beaten for 15 minutes straight wasn’t lost on Wanderley, who discussed Roufusport’s game plan leading into UFC 225 days after Punk’s loss:
“Mike Jackson has a boxing background, so our strategy was to avoid standing with him. CM Punk comes from the wrestling world. It’s fake wrestling with WWE, but he’s more of a grappler than a striker. Even though he has worked on his striking for a long time, it takes years, especially if you’re starting at his age.”
“Our plan was to go for takedowns early. We knew [Jackson] didn’t have much of a ground game, so he could scramble and submit or work on his ground and pound on top. His jiu-jitsu is better when he’s on top. He tried a triangle when he was off his back, but he was already hurt and it was hard to finish. Not that he did something wrong, but I think that the adrenaline of his [WWE] court case, that battle during fight week didn’t help. We were confident that he would win, but unfortunately we couldn’t.
“We’re proud of him because he went there and fought hard. At one point we thought Mike would end the fight, but we saw his heart there.”
Unbeknownst to most MMA fans, Punk was actually embroiled in a court case with his former employer just mere days from his second professional fight on Saturday. His jiu-jitsu coach maintains that distraction added unnecessary pressure on Punk and likely affected his performance and ability to follow the game plan.
Punk infamously left the WWE under tense terms before signing with the UFC back in late 2014.
Now, nearly four years later, Punk’s MMA odyssey appears to have come to an end, and a return to the WWE seems highly unlikely following the court case.
Maybe a try at competitive jiu-jitsu isn’t such a bad idea.