The CM Punk experiment by the UFC seems to be winding down.
Having lost to a rising fighter in Mickey Gall many thought it was a case of CM Punk being outclassed. So, the UFC paired him with another unproven fighter in Mike Jackson. The results were the same. While Jackson didn’t finish CM Punk the way Gall had, the fight wasn’t close as CM Punk took another L and perhaps closed the door on his UFC career.
Dana White even suggest as much telling on reporter that CM Punk should hang it up.
CM Punk’s Jiu Jitsu coach Daniel Wanderley, who cornered CM Punk in both of his MMA fights, is proud of his fighter … even if CM punk didn’t follow the game plan.
“Mike Jackson has a boxing background, so our strategy was to avoid standing with him,” Wanderley said. “CM Punk comes from the wrestling world. It’s fake wrestling with WWE, but he’s more of a grappler than a striker. Even though he has worked on his striking for a long time, it takes years, especially if you’re starting at his age.”
“Our plan was to go for takedowns early,” he continued. “We knew [Jackson] didn’t have much of a ground game, so he could scramble and submit or work on his ground and pound on top. His jiu-jitsu is better when he’s on top. He tried a triangle when he was off his back, but he was already hurt and it was hard to finish. Not that he did something wrong, but I think that the adrenaline of his [WWE] court case, that battle during fight week didn’t help. We were confident that he would win, but unfortunately we couldn’t.
“We’re proud of him because he went there and fought hard. At one point we thought Mike would end the fight, but we saw his heart there.”
Wanderley believes that CM Punk was under too much pressure for the moment.
“I think he put that pressure over himself after he lost to Mickey Gall, someone more skilled and technical than both [CM Punk and Jackson],” Wanderley said. “A few weeks before the fight he had this court case with WWE and I said ‘Punk, we need you to get there and put the gameplan to work. You need to stay focused and be aggressive because that guy wants to hurt you. You have to go there and finish him.’ He said ‘I’ll do it for you guys,’ and I said ‘no, you have to do it for yourself. We’re there for you, but you have to do it for yourself.’”
“I texted him after the fight to check if he was okay,” he continued, “because he went to the hospital, and he said he was fine but heartbroken because he really wanted to win this one for us because we worked hard with him for years. I take that pressure off of him. It was his first time fighting in real fights, it’s hard to get in there and do what you trained in the gym every day.”
Wanderley thinks CM Punk should continue his journey in combat sports, ans suggested that he perhaps shift his focus to Jiu Jitsu.
“I hope he continues training and maybe enters a Jiu Jitsu competition, something he has always talked about,” Wanderley said. “I hope he comes back with a good mindset and keeps training Jiu Jitsu because that’s good for his life. I think that’s a perfect sport for him.
“I think he should continue training kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, but training for a [MMA] fight is too hard. I wish he would go on to compete in Jiu Jitsu because you face opponents at your age, your skill level, your belt rank, so you don’t fight someone more experienced than you. That’s my recommendation for him.”
Andy Gonzalez is a coach at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. He has earned his purple belt under Professor Mikal Abdullah. Follow Andy on Twitter at @GoGoGonzilla
Andy lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Amanda and their 3 beautiful children. Andy is also the father of a Marine who is honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps.