<
>

Dana White reveals potential first opponent for CM Punk

More than one year after he announced a contract with the UFC, former WWE superstar CM Punk has a potential opponent.

In an interview with TSN's "Off The Record" on Wednesday, UFC president Dana White revealed the promotion has booked a welterweight fight between Mickey Gall (1-0) and Michael Jackson to UFC 196 on Feb. 6 in Las Vegas.

"I'm bringing in Mickey Gall, and he's going to fight a kid named Michael Jackson," White said. "They're going to fight on the prelims on Feb. 6 on (UFC's digital service) Fight Pass, and if he wins that fight, Mickey Gall will fight CM Punk. CM Punk will be there at the fight to watch."

White tweeted that Jackson will not get the CM Punk fight if he beats Gall. Jackson, 30, is making his professional debut and is 0-1 as an amateur.

Gall, 23, was featured in a recent episode of "Lookin' for a Fight," a UFC-produced web show titled that features White attending various regional shows in search of talent. The episode showed White in attendance for Gall's professional debut against Ron Templeton on Nov. 21 in Philadelphia. Gall won the bout by rear-naked choke in the first round. Immediately afterward, Gall grabbed the in-house microphone and called out CM Punk.

"He's holding a lottery ticket with really good odds of winning the lottery right now," White said. "He's got to get through this fight. It's going to be a life-changer for this kid."

Fighting out of New Jersey, Gall also compiled a 2-0 amateur record.

Punk, a 36-year-old whose birth name is Phil Brooks, is currently training at Roufusport in Milwaukee. He has no professional MMA experience but signed with the UFC in late 2014 and will make his debut in the Octagon.

A shoulder injury temporarily sidelined Punk last fall, potentially delaying his debut. At that time, his trainer, Duke Roufus, said a debut at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas would probably make sense.