The wrestling and MMA worlds were shocked by retired WWE wrestler CM Punk’s announcement that he has signed a multi-fight deal with UFC.
CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, has been a long time fan of mixed martial arts, having previously trained in both Kempo Karate and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with Rener Gracie. Punk’s in-ring style has been known to incorporate elements of MMA, including kicks, high knees and a submission style.
Punk has stated that “this is my new career 100-percent”and he’s considering both the Middleweight and Welterweight divisions, with a definitive answer to be made following a test weight cut. He currently weighs around 205 pounds, after losing 15 pounds as he commenced MMA training.
During his time with WWE, Punk was able to train with Rener Gracie in multiple two-week intensive camps roughly six months apart. According to Gracie, he has progressed extremely well and is “in the top-tier of students as far as retention, athleticism and ability to train for long periods goes.”
During a post-UFC 181 press conference, Punk said that he intends to consider all possible fight camps and to eventually join the one he feels has the best chance of making him as well-rounded as possible, because he “has so much respect for all of the fighters”and wants to commit to this properly.
Punk recently made headlines within the wrestling community after appearing on Colt Cabana’s (a long time friend of Punk’s) Art of Wrestling Podcast for a tell-all interview regarding his departure from the WWE. In the interview Punk pointed out that he had been dealing with multiple health issues such as an untreated and potentially fatal MRSA infection, broken ribs, injured knees and multiple concussions. Along with these he had started to becoming disillusioned with the creative process and wrestling in general, which all contributed to his abrupt departure from the company.
The signing of Punk to UFC could potentially be a masterstoke for Dana White, in a similar vein as the signing of Brock Lesnar. During his time on the independent circuit and with WWE, Punk built up a cult following and they’ll likely tune in to see his first MMA fight.
Image courtesy of Bleach Report