By Damon Martin
On paper, Mike Jackson might seem like a more even matchup for former WWE superstar CM Punk in his second fight in the UFC.
Punk was soundly thumped by Mickey Gall in his first fight, but afterward, it was evident the professional wrestler turned mixed martial artist was really just outgunned by a far superior opponent.
Now Punk will make his second appearance in the UFC on June 9 in Chicago when he faces Jackson, who also wears a 0-1 record after losing to Gall in his Octagon debut in 2016.
But identical records don't exactly explain each fighter's history when it comes to experience.
Jackson has been boxing, kickboxing, and training in mixed martial arts for the better part of a decade, and he promises the difference in his skill level compared to what Punk has to offer will show who belongs in the Octagon at UFC 225 and who doesn't.
This will be his last fight. I can guarantee that. Cause after I touch him, he ain't going to want this no more.
"I do feel it's still a mismatch," Jackson told FloCombat. "At one point in time, I had no idea who Anderson Silva was. I thought he looked like a good fighter and had an interesting look, but after he smashed on Chris Leben, I was an instant fan. At the time, he was doing all this stuff in [other organizations] and I wasn't really watching so I had no idea who Anderson Silva was. It didn't mean he wasn't good.
"Now I'm not comparing myself to Anderson Silva but people have just not seen me cause I've not had that kind of exposure."
Jackson's fight with Gall in February 2016 determined who would face Punk in his first UFC bout in September of that year, and Jackson knew right away how the latter matchup was going to play out.
Gall was only 2-0 when he faced Punk at UFC 203, but the reality was the fight was never even remotely close when it came to skill level.
"Listen, Gall is talented. He's a good kid; he's the future of this sport," Jackson said. "I told people what was going to happen. Gall's going to go in there and just choke this dude out."
It took Gall less than three minutes to do just that, but now a year and a half later, Punk is ready to try again.
Jackson admires Punk's passion for the sport, but he's not sure if the former WWE competitor is truly obsessed with becoming the best mixed martial artist in the world if fighting in the UFC is a "bucket list" item for him.
"I'm not going in there just to submit this guy. I said it before the Gall fight. Look I'm here to beat this dude up and show him this is not what he wants. There's levels to this and he just went about it the wrong way," Jackson said. "He should have gone the Greg Hardy route. I don't fault him for not going that route, because when you have a name like he has and he's a draw, he's looking at it like a business. No one else is paying Phil Brooks a half-a-million dollars to fight.
"If he really just wanted to fight, he would have went with an amateur fight. But when you're standing in a cage and somebody is about to punch you in the face, you want to get paid."
Jackson knows Punk will get paid a lot of money for their fight and he'll see his name in the spotlight, sharing the stage with champions and former champions such as Robert Whittaker, Holly Holm, and Rashad Evans.
However, Jackson believes the end result will be the same as Punk's first fight.
"They paid him a half-a-million the last time. They'll probably pay him another half-a-million this time and that will be it," Jackson said. "This will be his last fight. I can guarantee that. Cause after I touch him, he ain't going to want this no more."