Miocic proves he's the real deal at UFC 203; CM Punk doesn't belong
September 13, 2016 3:02 AM
by Vegas Runner
There are many takeaways from this past Saturday night’s UFC 203 that took place in Cleveland. For starters, UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (16-2) is definitely the real deal.
He captured his title belt by beating the division’s most accomplished Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner Fabricio Werdum (21-6-1), and now successfully defended it against arguably the most celebrated heavyweight kick boxer in Alistair Overeem (41-15-0, 1 NC).
But an even greater impression left by UFC 203 is just how much the sport has evolved. Back at the inception of Ultimate Fighting we witnessed fighters who were elite in one discipline of combat sports against another.
For example, a former Olympic wrestler would face off against a top level kick boxer and each would attempt to prove that one discipline was more superior than the other.
Well that has changed drastically and without a doubt today’s UFC fighter needs to be a mixed martial artist regardless of how elite he or she may be at any one discipline.
Granted, almost every fighter under UFC contract initially reached the pinnacle of their particular style of combat. But to remain in the promotion and have any chance of being a world-class fighter, one has to become a top mixed martial artist.
Former WWE superstar CM Punk (0-1) was afforded the opportunity to see what it takes to compete in today’s UFC, and though we must give the man credit for having the courage to step inside the Octagon, it took all of 30 seconds to conclude he bit off way more than he could chew.
Phillip Brooks (CM Punk) spent the last 2 years training in mma with many of the sport’s most recognized fighters. He trained jiu-jitsu with black belt Rener Gracie, worked on his striking with “Duke” Rufus, and sparred with teammates Anthony Pettis and Tyron Woodley, both former and current UFC champions.
Yet it took the 24 year old Mickey Gall (2-0) only 2 minutes and 14 seconds to wrap a rear naked choke around the neck of CM and force the 37 year old to tap out.
Gall was making only his second appearance inside the Octagon, having won his very first bout in even less time, only 45 seconds. Though CM was able to last longer against Gall than his first opponent Mike Jackson, unlike Jackson who landed 3 strikes before being submitted, CM was unable to land a single strike.
Instead, Gall feinted a strike and immediately put CM on his back with a successful double leg take down. Once on the mat, Gall relentlessly reigned down punches before taking Punk’s back forcing the submission.
Bottom line, though we were repeatedly told this was not a publicity stunt by any means and instead, CM was taking his training very seriously and was focused on becoming a respected mixed martial artist, it proved to be nothing more than a successful marketing campaign.
Let’s be honest, there are hundreds, if not thousands of amateur fighters who are more worthy based on skill set and skill level to have been given the opportunity Punk was. But those young men don’t possess the name recognition or fan base to warrant being on a UFC pay-per-view card.
Finally, Phillip Brooks said afterward that he was not finished with his UFC stint and that he would get back up to compete again rather than give up his dream. Though that may sound noble, truth be told it may also be unfair to take up a roster spot from a more deserving mixed martial artist simply because he can sell more tickets.
I believe that just like everyone else, CM Punk should be forced to prove himself before being given another opportunity to step inside the Octagon.
There are plenty of smaller promotions that he can “make his bones” if he truly wants to be more than just a spectacle, and it would also allow for him to gain the respect he claims he’s after.