The UFC gave Mickey Gall a prime spot against CM Punk, which the 24-year-old ran with by submitting the former WWE champion via rear-naked choke in the first round at UFC 203 in Cleveland on Saturday night.
According to UFC News on Twitter, the clock was officially stopped at two minutes, 14 seconds in the first round.
ESPN's Brett Okamoto provided a concise rundown of Punk's defeat:
MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani noted Punk tried his best to get out of Gall's grasp before he tapped out:
Even though Gall is a professionally trained mixed martial artist who has a long-term future in the sport, Punk was the talk of this card because of his background as a former professional wrestler making the transition to the UFC.
Brock Lesnar previously made the switch from WWE to MMA and had pay-per-view buyrates that regularly exceeded one million and a near-two-year reign as the heavyweight champion.
Punk was never going to have that kind of success because he had his first fight at age 37 after 15 years of professional wrestling tore up his body. Shoulder and back injuries delayed his debut on multiple occasions.
Gall entered the Octagon with all the confidence of a fighter his age going against someone with no professional experience, per MMAWeekly.com:
I’m not particularly impressed, just different things, the way he moves. I’m sure he’s improved tremendously since that footage, but I know when he gets to the fight, we get into (it), those bad habits tend to come out, and I know I’ll be able to expose those.
Bottom line is, we’re going to fight. I think a lot of people are very excited for this, but everything I’m seeing… we’re not going to put on and pretend to hate each other. There’s an appropriate amount of build-up. I think people are excited and I know we both are.
It turns out Gall was right. Punk wasn't pretending to be a fighter, but his lack of experience was a detriment.
The good news for the UFC is Gall should get a nice bump from this win because Punk has a name that a segment of the audience who doesn't normally watch mixed martial arts knows.
Now that Gall has gotten his first moment in the spotlight, the follow-up will be nearly as important. He's a young, upcoming talent who is trying to make people remember his name, instead of just being that guy who beat the former WWE champion.