Monday September 19, 2016— The profile of the UFC continues to grow when it comes to pop culture and this was on full display at UFC 203. WWE superstar Brock Lesnar is no stranger to the octagon and the most recent UFC event saw the debut of another staple of pro-wrestling. Former WWE champion CM Punk took to the ring—he signed with UFC in 2014— for his first match, which was something of a let down for fans who had waited years to see him finally fight.
After training for nearly two years, Punk finally got his name on the card at UFC 203 where he took on Mickey Gall in the welterweight division. To those watching the contest, it was immediately apparent that Punk was way out of his league as Gall quickly won by submission in the first round with a rear naked choke. The performance was disappointing enough that many MMA pundits are less than excited to see the wrestler in a second fight. The UFC should be lauded for giving Punk the benefit of the doubt and throwing him up against a competitive fighter. as opposed to a creampuff for the sake of publicity. However, it was clear that he was simply out of his depth. A UFC fighter is going to be too much for Punk to handle, and while his name is definitely a draw, they’d have to bring a much lower ranked opponent for the next fight to be entertaining. Even though entertainers coming into the world of MMA has produced mixed results, things have been the opposite for fighters looking for fame outside the ring.
Where some entertainers are dipping their toes into the world of MMA we now see many fighters entering the larger sphere of entertainment. Most recently, fans learned that Conor McGregor will be making an appearance in a video game besides EA Sports UFC. The current Featherweight Champion will play a character in the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare alongside Kit Harington (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones).
McGregor is hardly the first fighter to parlay his success inside the octagon to a career outside the ring. Former Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture is almost as well known for his role in The Expendables franchise these days as he is for his incredible fighting career. Former women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey made her own stab at the silver screen with her appearance in The Expendables 3 as well as a cameo in Furious 7 and performing with the WWE as well. Sadly, we’ve yet to hear much from Rousey since her once-perfect submission record was spoiled when she suffered her first loss to Holly Holm in November 2015.
Some have questioned whether Rousey’s extracurricular activities resulted in her not being as prepared for the fight as she should have been, but there’s still no denying her incredible talent. Since she was unseated, there’s been something of a power vacuum when it comes to women’s MMA. The bantamweight belt has changed hands a total of three times since 2015. Fans are eager to see Rousey return and there are rumors that she could fight at UFC 206 along with a potential rematch between Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo.
If the two were to be put on the same card, it would easily be the biggest pay-per-view UFC has ever seen. As both fighters continue to become even more popular through their roles in movies and video games, there’s sure to be plenty more fans dying to see them in action again.
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