CHICAGO — Before he made his UFC debut against Mickey Gall at UFC Fight Night 82, Mike Jackson made it abundantly clear he wanted to face CM Punk in the latter’s UFC debut. He would have gotten his wish if he beat Gall. But he came up short, losing by submission in 45 seconds.
Even though he didn’t get what he was looking for, Jackson (0-1) went on a mission to secure it. He sent the former WWE champion an autographed shirt and called him out on Twitter and every media outlet possible. The persistence proved effective, as he finally gets Punk in the octagon on Saturday at UFC 225. Knowing his long-awaited opportunity is nearly here, Jackson feels like he’s hit the jackpot.
“One hundred percent,” Jackson told Sporting News. “I feel like I’ve won the lottery. The lottery ticket is in my hands right now. Saturday night is my opportunity to cash it or it flies away in the wind.”
Fans and media alike felt the way Jackson came at Punk (0-1) meant he didn’t respect the former pro wrestler. Quite the contrary, “The Truth” said.
“The people who talk trash or talk down on us from the fans’ perspective don’t understand what it’s like to fight in any promotion,” Jackson said. “To just get into the cage and have all those eyes on you. They don’t know what it feels like to make that walk. That’s something that people can’t understand. I’ve seen people train there asses off. They feel one way. Then, they get into that arena and they are a completely different person because of the pressure. Just the notion that he wants to compete in the sport where it’s not predetermined, 100 percent respect.”
It’s been a hectic week for Punk. On Tuesday, he was found not guilty in a defamation lawsuit brought by WWE doctor Christopher Amann. Since then, he’s been all over the place doing media to promote the fight. One would expect all the pressure to be on Punk considering his stature. Jackson isn’t on that side of the fence.
“I feel all the pressure is on me,” Jackson said. “I think it’s the outside influences that puts the pressure on him. That has nothing to do with me. That’s something he has to overcome. Whether it be the lawsuit or the anxiety. Whatever it is, that’s on him.”
In the latest odds released by Bovada, Jackson is a more than 2-1 favorite to defeat Punk. The undefeated boxer (4-0) feels this fight ends one way and one way only.
“Knock him out,” Jackson said.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. Subscribe to his You Tube channel here. You can email him at [email protected] and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.