Phil “CM Punk” Brooks has the popularity of a top-ten fighter without even having a professional fight to his name, and that has brought some controversy to his UFC signing.
Punk signed a contract with the UFC back in December 2014 and has been training for his debut fight ever since. He chose to train at Roufusport with the likes of Anthony Pettis and Ben Askren and has been living the life of a fighter since retiring from professional wrestling. Punk picked up jiu-jitsu while traveling the roads with WWE, but never had professional combat sports experience before that.
Even though he has been grappling for a longer time, Duke Roufus, Punk’s coach, says his striking is his best asset.
“Everybody asks Duke, ‘Well, how’s he doing?’ and Duke tells everybody that he thinks my best area right now is striking, believe it or not,” Punk said during a media scrum at UFC’s International Fight Week. “Which is mind-boggling to me. Striking is the one thing that I never did. I’ve hit mitts before. I’ve done boxing and stuff like that. But just all the little nuances, with like everything you need to do with your feet, your head, just movement, correct movement. That’s been the most challenging thing aside from wrestling.”
Punk mentioned he has had issues with striking at first because the biggest rule in professional wrestling is to take care of your “opponent”. In the octagon, no punches are pulled and it is the real deal.
While Punk has mentioned he doesn’t care if he wins or loses, he doesn’t want to insult his team by acting like losing isn’t a big deal. “I don’t think I’d be doing this if I didn’t think I was gonna win my first fight,” Punk said. “My mindset is not, hey I’m gonna do this just to get paid and I expect to lose. That’s definitely not what’s gonna happen.”
“This is very much about me, this whole journey,” Punk said. “But I’ve got a whole team behind my back and I’m not here to let them down, I’m not here to embarrass them. I want to be able to go in there and get my hand raised and say, ‘You want to train, you just want to lose some weight, you want to be a mixed martial artist? I don’t care, come to Roufusport.’
Who do you think will be Punk’s first opponent in the octagon? Will he pull off the win? Share your prediction in the comment section below!
Transcribed by Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting
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