Jackson, who meets Punk at UFC 225 on June 9 in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, is promising a worse outcome this time around for the pro-wrestling superstar, he told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
In other words, Jackson said he doesn’t plan on making Punk tap out — he wants to knock him out. There is no bad blood there, per Jackson, but “The Truth” is miffed that Punk (whose real name is Phil Brooks) 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.”
The Punk vs. Jackson fight is a unique one in UFC annals. Both men are 0-1 career MMA fighters. Punk’s background is, of course, pro wrestling and he was one of the biggest stars in the world in that medium for years. Jackson is a 4-0 boxer and a kickboxer, who trains with the likes of UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis.
In 2016, with Punk’s debut in the UFC on the horizon, the UFC set up a fight between Jackson, a charismatic photographer for LFA, and Gall, a legit prospect who came out of UFC president Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight show. The winner would fight Punk. Gall beat Jackson in 45 seconds with a choke.
At UFC 203 in September 2016, Gall made short work of Punk, winning by first-round submission. Jackson said Punk lasting longer with Gall than he did does not 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.”
After the loss to Gall, Punk made it known that he wanted a second chance in the UFC and if he didn’t get it, he would go fight elsewhere. He has continued his MMA training at Roufusport in Milwaukee. The UFC granted him another shot and Jackson believes he was the right opponent from the jump.
In wrestling parlance, Jackson said he had to “put over” the young prospect in Gall and now it has all come full circle from a narrative perspective.
“Vince McMahon could not have written a better storyline,” Jackson said. … “The redemption story of CM Punk being ended by ‘The Truth’ at UFC 225.”
The idea of Punk calling him a can despite having never fought in MMA before Gall still irritates Jackson. And that will be one of the things fueling him in June.
“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.”