It's been several months since Mickey Gall won his UFC debut to grant him the first shot at former WWE superstar CM Punk, but he's finally got a date and location for their fight.
Gall will face Punk in a featured bout at UFC 203 in Cleveland and the 2-0 New Jersey native couldn't be any more excited to finally face the former professional wrestler in a bout he's called a "lottery ticket".
Admittedly, the waiting game for Punk to get healthy after back surgery just after Gall won his fight in February was a little tiresome, but the 24-year-old prospect promises he was only getting better in the mean time and that's bad news for his opponent.
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"I've been training. I've been getting bigger and stronger to not only prepare for this fight, but also for down the line. It's just given me more time to train and keep getting better. Would I liked to have fought before now? Sure. But I'm doing the right things and getting better everyday," Gall told FOX Sports on Thursday after his fight with Punk was announced.
After being discovered on UFC president Dana White's reality show "Looking for a Fight", Gall made quick work of Mike Jackson back in February to secure the shot at Punk in his debut.
No one knows for sure what to expect out of Punk when he finally steps foot into the Octagon as a 37-year-old novice with no previous fight experience or real MMA training outside of what he's done since signing with the promotion in 2014.
Still, Gall is treating Punk like he's welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and not a WWE performer who is coming to the UFC to check off an item from his bucket list.
"I'm going to prepare as if they say he's the best in the world. I'm going to prepare like he's the baddest dude around," Gall said. "I don't really think I need to see tape. I'm going to force my game. I'm taking him very seriously.
"A lot of people are treating him like a joke but I'm going to look like a real (expletive) if I go out there thinking he's a joke and get myself beat. I won't let that happen."
In fact, Gall is confident that he'll dispatch Punk in very impressive fashion just like he did in his first fight in the UFC, which lasted a whopping 45 seconds.
Gall has actually spent less than five minutes of total time in the cage during his professional MMA career and he doesn't expect to double that in his fight with Punk.
Gall clearly has a lot of confidence heading into the fight with Punk, but he's also smart enough to know he can't look past the UFC rookie thinking that this is going to be an easy fight.
Gall knows that whether Punk wins or loses, he's already made his money from a long career in professional wrestling, but this moment means everything to his future. Without a win on September 10, Gall may not get another shot in the UFC so this is do-or-die for him and he's not about to let Punk steal his dream from him.
"He's made his money, done his thing. This is how I'm going to make mine and set my path," Gall said. "It's a great opportunity but it's a high risk, high reward. If I do something stupid and lose, I look like an (expletive), I look stupid. I'd be getting the jokes that he's getting and I'm not going to let that happen. I'm not training like this is going to be an easy win. I'm training like I'm facing the champion."
If Gall's prediction comes true and he puts Punk away in the first round, many question whether or not the former WWE star would even bother with a second fight.
Gall doesn't know what's going through Punk's mind now, much less what will be happening after he suffers a defeat at UFC 203, but he believes the professional wrestler turned fighter will give MMA at least one more try despite a loss in his first fight.
"I think there's still some money to be made off him," Gall said. "I think he'll probably fight again. I'm going to beat him and then he'll try to get some retribution to get a win or something."