CM Punk was one of the most polarizing figures in WWE history, and this past December, CM Punk became one of the most polarizing figures in the UFC after he announced that he would be fighting for the organization at some point in 2015. Punk will head into the octagon with no official amateur or professional fights — a 0-0 record.
Nobody knows what to expect from Punk in the UFC, but he’s not the first professional wrestler to make the transition to MMA with virtually no experience in the sport. And while people immediately think of former WWE and UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar when they hear that statement, they should think of former WWE Champion Dave Bautista, a.k.a Batista.
Back in 2012, Batista, who was 42 at the time, decided to have his first professional MMA fight. However, unlike Punk, Batista — who certainly could have fought in the UFC based on his popularity — chose to fight on a minor league show against an opponent with more losses than wins; his opponent lost 12 of his last 15 fights. Long story short, Batista defeated him in the first round via TKO and never stepped into the cage again.
In a recent interview, CM Punk recalled asking Batista for advice on the transition to MMA. Punk said that at the time, he hadn’t yet announced that he would be fighting in the UFC, so it was kind of hard for him to ask Batista for advice without telling him why. However, it’s likely that Batista already knew why.
“Oh yeah, absolutely [I’ve talked to Batista about transitioning to MMA.] I’m trying to remember… It might have been a little less than a year ago. I think he was doing a comic con out here in Chicago and he came over just so we could hang out for a little bit. Yeah, I talked to him about it. This was before I made the announcement [that I was signing UFC]. I was heavily thinking about it, so I was — without spilling the beans to him, because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do — I was asking him all kinds of questions. Because he was in the same situation I was in, coming from the pro wrestling background, a little bit older than he probably should have been [starting out], just like I am. So there’s a lot of similarities, so he gave me a lot of advice to help me out.”
Nobody knows exactly when CM Punk will make his UFC debut, but it’s expected that he will at some point later this year, possibly December. In the meantime, Punk is training at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, trying to soak up as much knowledge as he can from head coach Duke Roufus. Punk feels that he’s constantly getting better, and that in six months, he should be “ready to go.”
“You know, as long as I’m getting better one percent every day, I’m happy. And I feel it’s never less than that, so I think I’m doing good. My trainers, I don’t think they’re blowing smoke up my a**, they tell me when I do stuff bad, and we work on it. In another six months, I should be ready to go, but… don’t take it from me! It’s out of my hands. It’s up to my trainers.”
[Image via Asos Katopodis / Getty Images]