Former WWE Superstar CM Punk finally had his debut fight for UFC on Saturday. 2 years into his blockbuster signing announcement, Punk finally had an opponent in up and coming fighter Mickey Gall. Long time UFC fans knew that Punk was a longshot to win, with the vocal majority ensuring he would fall in the first round. After all, how could a guy who “fake fought” for so many years become a success in a “real” sport? Perhaps the most interesting thing surrounding Punk’s debut was the amount of people who supported his journey. It wasn’t just the hardcore WWE fans that followed him into the octagon either. Fight fans, pro wrestlers, musicians, actors, all seemed to buy into the notion that Punk could shock the world; That he could actually win.
If you look at CM Punk’s entire career, he has a history of accomplishing things that were previously thought to be undoable. Wrestling on the independent circuit for the better part of 7 years, Punk seemed to always be a featured player wherever he went. It wasn’t until he began wrestling for Ring Of Honor that his star really took off. Punk is still known as one of the “Founding Fathers” of ROH thanks to his excellent work as both a heel and a face for the company. He was a vital part of ROH programming all the way up until he signed with WWE in 2005. Once in WWE, Punk continued to work his way to the top, eventually becoming the biggest star in the company second only to John Cena. Punk’s popularity had grown so much he was rewarded with the longest WWE title reign in modern history. He held the title for 434 days before losing it to the returning Rock. Punk was a locker room leader according to several WWE talent because of his tendency to speak up for the younger talent, and also for himself. He was the guy that always spoke his mind no matter what. On top of that, he gained the reputation of being someone who not only said things, but did them, regardless of whether or not it was the popular thing to do.
By now we all know that Punk was essentially dominated in his debut, and suffered perhaps the worst loss in his professional career. During the post-fight interviews Punk held his held high, and while he was disappointed, you could tell he wasn’t jarred by his loss. Most people would want to dig a hole and hide out in it, never returning to the public eye again. Something tells me Punk never felt that way. Regardless of how bad his loss looked, the reality of this situation is that Punk still won in the end. After leaving the WWE, Punk had one clear goal in mind, and that was to fight in the UFC. Almost 5 months into his departure from the wrestling world, he was officially signed by the UFC. He set out to do something and he did it. Despite the outcome, Punk still managed to do something that a massive collection of us will never get to do.
It’s one thing to have goals and dreams. To proactively chase them though, is an entirely different beast. Some people crumble under the pressure of the THOUGHT of pursuing their dreams let alone actually trying. Punk was on top of the wrestling world, and could have continued to be there, but his heart was obviously somewhere else. While I may disagree with his exit strategy, I totally applaud him for sticking his neck out there for the sake of pursuing a goal. While he was unceremoniously cut down in the short-term, the reality is that he still did it. He fought in the UFC on a Pay-Per-View event at that. That in and of itself is worth its weight in gold. The lesson in CM Punk’s loss is that no matter how big and scary your goals or dreams may be, GO AFTER THEM. You will encounter naysayers, and detractors, but if you’re actively pursuing your dreams, you’re on the road to accomplishing them. Your goals may even hit you straight in the mouth, but as long as you have the will to succeed, you will. Even in defeat, doing something you want to do or love to do, still looks like a win.