Mike Jackson, the MMA journalist and fighter who gained notoriety for his victory over former professional wrestling star "CM Punk" in 2018, will return the Octagon against newcomer Dean Barry on Jan. 20.
MMAFighting.com was first to report the bout, which is slated for UFC Fight Night 185. The card takes place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and is headlined by a welterweight tilt between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev.
Jackson hasn’t competed since outpointing Punk at UFC 225 in June 2018. The 35-year-old lost his promotional debut when he was submitted by Mickey Gall at UFC Fight Night 82, which earned Gall the right to get the first crack at Punk. Jackson’s return comes as something of a surprise following the criticism he received from Dana White for not finishing the fight at UFC 225.
“Michael Jackson, I’m not happy with,” White said. “This guy was acting like a goofball tonight. You get this opportunity to fight CM Punk and you’re doing like bolo punches to the body on top? Never looked like he was trying to finish the fight ever, right? Looked like he could have finished the fight a few times. Never tried. I don’t know what that guy did for a living before we gave him this shot, but whatever it was he needs to go back and do that again. He’s 0-2 as far as I’m concerned.”
A protege of SBG Ireland coach Owen Roddy and a decorated kickboxer, Barry enters his UFC debut with a 3-1 professional mark. Barry is coming off a first-round KO of Abdullah Boushehri at UAE Warriors 13 on Sept. 25.