UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor grabbed a quick word with TMZ‘s roving reporters while on a night out in Los Angeles.
And ‘The Notorious’ one admitted he has a new-found respect for the former WWE star, even though he was well beaten by Mickey Gall on Saturday night.
“I tell you what – fair play to him, ‘cos he got in there and fought, and not a lot of people do,” he said.
“Not a lot of people have the balls to make that walk, so fair play.”
Punk – real name Phil Brooks – was submitted in just 134 seconds by Gall at UFC 203 in Cleveland in a bout where he didn’t land a single punch.
Mickey Gall made short work of CM Punk at UFC 203[/caption]
And while the ex-wrestler may have fallen short on his UFC debut, McGregor said he deserves respect for stepping into the Octagon and putting his body on the line in the ultimate proving ground for combat sports athletes.
“He got his ass whooped. God bless him he got his ass whooped!” he said.
“Those WWE guys are straight p*****s, I told you all. But he isn’t.
“He got in there and fought, so fair play to him. Respect.”
And Punk also received words of support from women’s strawweight star Paige VanZant, who wished him well, but admitted he might be a bit too old to embark on a UFC-level career in MMA.
“He’s pretty old. I love CM Punk. I wanted him to do well. I think he’s just a little too old for it.
“He came out there a little bit too aggressive and confident. You just can’t teach jiu jitsu in two years.”
Paige VanZant says CM Punk could potentially fare better against a less seasoned grappler[/caption]
But despite his advancing years and lack of experience, VanZant said there’s no reason why he can’t compete at a lower level against someone with less grappling experience and have a more competitive contest.
“He definitely has a chance – he definitely does,” she said.
“There’s a lot of other people out there that I think he would definitely do a lot better against. Somebody maybe that doesn’t have such a high level jiu jitsu background. So I would love to see him fight again. He’s definitely persistent and he’s still an athlete.
“He needs to work on his jiu jitsu! It’s gonna take a while, but he can do it.”