During an appearance on “Off the Record” with Michael Landsberg on Wednesday, UFC President Dana White finally released some details about Phil “CM Punk” Brooks’ debut opponent. White indicated that Mickey Gall, who was recently featured on the UFC’s “Looking for a Fight” series, will face Mike Jackson at UFC 196. With a victory, he will be Punk’s first opponent.
Punk and Jackson will make their debuts with 0-0 professional records. Gall is 1-0. In 2015, the UFC put on more shows than any other year. To compensate, the UFC signed a vast number of new fighters. The term “UFC veteran” had already lost a lot of its luster, and after 2015 it holds less weight than ever before. Fighters have made their professional debut in the modern UFC before such as TUF veterans like Amir Sadollah, Matt Riddle and Matt Mitrione or as special attractions like James Toney. Although all of them either had amateur fights or experience in another combat sport.
With all that being said, in 2015 no fighter made their UFC debut without at least one professional win. If you are curious to see how Jackson, Gall and Punk stacks up with recent signees, the following is a by-the-numbers look at 2015 UFC rookie class.
107: Fighters made their UFC debut in 2015
2: Fighters (Freddy Serrano and Aleksandra Albu) made their UFC debuts with 1-0 records
30: Fighters to make their UFC debut in 2015 were undefeated
14: Fighters remain undefeated after entering the UFC undefeated in 2015
3: Debuting fighters (Stevie Ray, Alex Oliveira and Holly Holm) won three fights in 2015
10: Debuting fighters went 0-2 in 2015
28: The most wins for a fighter who debuted in 2015 (Nazareno Malegarie)
10: Most losses of any fighter to debut in 2015 (Artem Lobov)
66: Winning percentage of debuting fighter’s pre-UFC opponents. (Contemporary record of fighter’s opponent when they fought)
84: Collective winning percentage of fighters to make their debut in 2015. The average pre-UFC
record for 2015 rookies was 9.35-1.86-0.13
40: Fighters made their UFC debut after appearing on TUF
41: Winning percentage of TUF veterans making their debut. Debuting TUF vets went 24-28-1
27: Fighters from 27 different countries made their debut in 2015
41: Fighters from the U.S. debuted, 12 fighters Brazil debuted and no other country had more than 6
13: Fighters made their UFC debut with a 100 percent finishing rate (these fighters went 9-8 in the UFC)
94: Winning percentage of Cody Garbrant’s pre-UFC opponents. He fought the toughest schedule to earn his shot in the UFC. His opponents held an average record of 18.20-1.20
13: Fighters made it to the UFC by facing opponents with a combined 50 percent winning percentage or worse. These fighters went 7-11 in the UFC.
29: Welterweights and lightweights made their debut. The two divisions are tied for the most rookies in 2015
Richard Mann currently runs the data-driven MMA blog StrikeScoreMMA.com