The CM Punk Effect hits UFC with Mickey Gall-Michael Jackson bout

Gall to face CM Punk if victorious at UFC Fight Night? (1:39)

Brett Okamoto looks at the circumstances surrounding Mickey Gall's match with Michael Jackson and the plan to have Gall face CM Punk if he wins. (1:39)

LAS VEGAS -- At Saturday night's UFC Fight Night card inside MGM Grand Garden Arena, two welterweights with a combined professional record of 1-0 will meet inside the Octagon.

If the "right" one wins (24-year-old Mickey Gall), he'll move on to fight former WWE wrestler CM Punk (professional MMA record: 0-0) later this year. If the "wrong" one wins (30-year-old Michael Jackson), it's not clear who will eventually fight Punk. The Punk offer, at least currently, applies only to Gall.

It's a weird situation, all right. There's no way around that. UFC president Dana White acknowledges as much.

"We typically don't have a WWE wrestler coming in to fight who is 0-0 in MMA," White told ESPN.com. "Who knows how this is going to go? CM Punk is a fan and I really like the guy. After his falling out with the WWE, he said he wanted to try this and I'm giving him the opportunity. It has never been done before. I'm just going with the flow here."

If nothing else, it has already produced some truly unique situations for those involved.

Take Gall (1-0). The New Jersey native fell in love with MMA when he was 16. Like countless other prospects scattered around the world, he has had to juggle training along with a full-time job just to make ends meet. Until recently, that job involved night shifts driving a bread truck.

On Nov. 21, Gall was still just one of those dime-a-dozen prospects, making his pro debut in Philadelphia. About one month prior to the fight, his promoter called to let him know White was going to be there filming a new reality show titled "Dana White: Lookin' for a Fight."

Immediately, Gall knew he had to call out Punk if he won. He recognized what an opportunity it was to have White in attendance -- and frankly, he figured, every other fighter at the event would, too.

"Punk was the only guy in the UFC I could fight. If I called out anyone else, they'd laugh at me," Gall said. "I had to try it. I didn't know the next time I was going to be in the same room with Dana White.

"I knew they were filming. It actually seemed kind of obvious to me they were looking for his opponent. I figured I'd be one of 45 guys that night to call Punk out -- and then no one did. As far as I know, I was the only one."

Gall won the fight via submission in the first round. He took the microphone during his postfight interview and called the former professional wrestler out. That's all it took.

Rather than book Gall against Punk -- whose birth name is Phil Brooks -- right away, White believed it was best to introduce him further to UFC fans. He toyed with the idea of producing another episode of his reality show around Gall's second appearance on the regional circuit, but ultimately opted to just bring him into the UFC.

That decision, of course, created a need to sign a second fighter to have him square off again -- one with virtually no MMA experience. Enter Michael Jackson.

Jackson (0-0), out of Houston, says his life "revolves around MMA," but he has never had a pro bout. He runs a blog, mikethetruth.com, and wants to increase his profile in MMA journalism. His UFC contract is for one fight.

"UFC is the pinnacle of fighting but it's also a business," Jackson told ESPN.com. "When an individual like CM Punk wants to make his MMA debut, dollar signs pop in your eyes.

"You look at this situation, we have one fight between us. Do I belong in the UFC? No, I don't. Does Gall or Punk? No. But I do belong in a fight with either one of them. And don't get it twisted, I'm definitely coming in there to win. I'm not laying down for anybody and getting the Punk fight is my end game. If people are interested in Gall vs. Punk and I beat Gall, then they should be interested in Michael Jackson vs. Punk."

Staying on that topic: How long will people want to see Punk vs. anyone?

The 37-year-old says he intends to fight more than once. Will the UFC continue to sign fighters with 0-0 records for him to face? Does basically anyone have a shot at the CM Punk sweepstakes (and a UFC contract) ... if they're willing to ask for it?

Again, certainly not the norm for the top MMA organization in the world. But it is interesting, isn't it?

"I think it depends on whether I win or lose and how it happens," Punk said. "I'm not too concerned about what people are going to do beyond my first fight. If people hate me or love me, they'll tune in and watch. The way my career goes is really kind of up to me and that's what's exciting about it. I think people are in for the long haul."