Dana White says he has nothing but respect for CM Punk for having "the balls" to get back in the Octagon after his first UFC fight ... and can't wait to see what he's got on Saturday night.
Punk will face off against Mike "The Truth" Jackson at UFC 225 -- and White says he's been hearing positive things about Punk from his training camp.
"What comes out of his camp is everyone respects this guy and how hard he works and the commitment he's made to become a mixed martial artist."
White also says Punk's self-described spectacularly bad debut may have been the result of "UFC jitters" and he expects to see a different guy this time around. "
As for Punk's fighting future, White says he won't rule out a 3rd fight ... especially if Punk wins.
We also asked White about a possible Conor McGregor vs. Khabib fight -- and White told us there are still some hurdles Conor has to get through before that fight can be made.