CM Punk stepped into the octagon for his second-ever UFC fight on Saturday night in Chicago, Illinois at UFC 225. Compared to his first fight back in the fall of 2016, this one was an improvement but not nearly enough.
Punk faced Mike Jackson, a fighter who was also 0-1 in the UFC heading into the fight. In fact, both men lost to Mickey Gall in their only prior bout with UFC.
Punk faced high expectations heading into UFC 225 given it occurred in his hometown at the famed United Center, and he had over 18 months to prepare since his prior fight again Gall which could only be categorized as a disaster.
Round one consisted of both guys trying to gain position early on, with Punk and Jackson taking some hard shots to the face. Punk in particular was bloodied but fought on. Punk started to look tired and his hands got sloppy, but in the last minute of round one, he took Jackson down to the mat. Given Punk's take down, he likely won round one on the score cards.
Round two had Punk go for another take down but ran into Jackson's defense, who caught him and took him down to the mat. The majority of round two was Punk in the guard on his back and Jackson toying with him on top, throwing exaggerated wound up shots with his fist as the crowd boo'ed his showboating. Joe Rogan got on Punk a little bit on commentary, mentioning that there would be criticism of the fight due to the fact that Punk doesn't have a full repertoire of moves. He called it a professional versus an amateur.
Punk looked gassed in round three, though Rogan gave him props for having heart. He went for a take down but Jackson wound up being the one to take him down instead once again. This time, though, Jackson let him back to his feet and they stood up again. Rogan on commentary said Jackson could probably finish Punk off but he was almost just playing with him instead of finishing the fight.
Punk took several hard shots in round three but kept on. Punk found himself on the bottom on the mat again near the fence the last couple minutes of the fight. Jackson just wouldn't finish the fight as Rogan noted he looked very casual and relaxed. The crowd boo'ed as they finished the fight with Punk on his knees, face down, with Jackson on top punching him pretty lackadaisically.
It was a better performance than his first fight for sure, but Punk again looked outclassed in the fight by a much more skilled fighter. He had a ton of heart and deserves respect for attempting to live out his dream, but he really wasn't ever close to winning this fight.
In the end, Jackson won unanimously via the judge's scorecards. Rogan interviewed Jackson immediately following the fight in the octagon but Punk left before Rogan could interview him.