It was nearly two years ago that CM Punk officially signed with UFC, leaving behind his career as a professional wrestler. Now, the former WWE superstar is finally ready to step inside the octagon for the first time.
Punk isn’t fighting in the main event, but he’ll be one of the top attractions at UFC 203 in Cleveland on Saturday as he makes his MMA debut. He’s set to have his first bout at 37 years old, looking to prove the critics wrong, of which he has many.
Having made his name by performing in predetermined wrestling matches, Punk enters UFC 203 as a heavy underdog against welterweight Mickey Gall, who has just two professional MMA fights under his belt. But despite his lack of experience, Punk is confident heading into Saturday night.
Hesitating to choose the exact round in which he thinks he'll win, something Conor McGregor often does, Punk believes he can get the victory before the end of the third and final round.
"I see my hand getting raised," Punk told FOX Sports on a UFC 203 media conference call. "I'm not one for making predictions and I'm not sure if Conor's hat would fit my head. I don't know if he's got a large head or a small one, but I'm not trying to wear Conor's hat, I'm not trying to wear anybody else's hat. I'm just trying to be me, do my thing.
"I definitely see myself winning and if I had to pick, I'd say TKO. ”
Punk will attract plenty of fans, both those who want to see him win and those who want to see him lose, but the pay-per-view is highlighted by the only championship match on the card. Stipe Miocic puts his heavyweight title on the line against Alistair Overeem in the main event.
Miocic will have his first title defense in his hometown, having won the belt from Fabricio Werdum on May 14 at UFC 198. Overeem has won four consecutive fights, earning the title shot by knocking out Andrei Arlovski on May 8.
Werdum is also on the card, looking to earn another shot at the belt. He faces Travis Browne, whom he defeated by unanimous decision two and a half years ago.
Below is the UFC 203 fight card, as well as available betting odds, via Bovada.lv.
Heavyweight Stipe Miocic (-145) vs. Alistair Overeem (+115)
Heavyweight Fabrício Werdum (-225) vs. Travis Browne (+175)
Welterweight CM Punk (+300) vs. Mickey Gall (-400)
Bantamweight Urijah Faber vs. Jimmie Rivera
Women's Strawweight Jéssica Andrade vs. Joanne Calderwood