The odds were against CM Punk succeeding in his first mixed martial arts bout, but that didn’t stop the former WWE superstar from making the walk to the Octagon to face Mickey Gall Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. And while Gall secured the first-round submission victory in dominant fashion, Punk remained unbowed in defeat.
“In life, you go big or go home,” Punk said. “I like to take challenges. This was a helluva mountain to try to climb, and I didn’t get to the summit today, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna give up or stop.”
Welterweight Gall said of the crazy ride that began with him calling Punk out on Dana White’s “Lookin’ for a Fight” show, “It’s been crazy, it’s been fun. It was a great opportunity. I see a lot of hate for this guy online, and I think we all hate too much. Let’s love each other. F**k the hate.”
More from UFC 203: Results | Miocic defends crown at home | Werdum wins chaotic co-main | Punk falters in UFC debut | Correia gets back to winning ways in prelims | Medeiros kicks off the night with a win | Backstage interviews: Stipe Miocic, Fabricio Werdum, Mickey Gall, Urijah Faber, Jessica Andrade | Octagon interviews: Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Mickey Gall and CM Punk, Yancy Medeiros | Postfight press conference highlights | Replay: Watch Medeiros vs Spencer on UFC FIGHT PASS | Best pics from fight night
Despite the respect shown by both welterweights after the bout, Gall made sure he was not going to be denied in the Octagon. Punk rushed Gall at the start, only to be met with a double leg takedown. Gall proceeded to fire off a series of hard strikes before taking Punk’s back. After more strikes, Gall sunk in a rear naked choke, and that was it, with Punk tapping out at 2:14 of the opening stanza.
“Obviously, Mickey’s a helluva fighter,” Punk said. “I will be back, believe it or not. This was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I know there’s a lot of doubters, but life’s about falling down and getting up.”
As for the 24-year-old Gall, he made an emphatic call out of fellow young gun Sage Northcutt.
“This might be seen like a gimmicky fight, but I’m no gimmick,” he said. “I’m for real.”
With the win, Green Brook, New Jersey’s Gall moves to 3-0; the 37-year-old Punk falls to 0-1.