Former WWE wrestler CM Punk has finally begun his road to the octagon, as he has begun training for his first professional mixed-martial-arts fight at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
CM Punk signed with the UFC back at UFC 181 in early December, and announced his training camp, Roufusport, shortly thereafter. Roufusport head coach Duke Roufus says that he first met Punk about two years ago through mutual friends, and has always told Punk that he would love to be his coach should Punk ever make the move to MMA.
“I know [CM Punk] has wanted to do this for a while, and I know he loves martial arts. It’s just been a passion of his, and I respect it so much because he’s leaving the friendly confines of his world to come into the MMA world. That’s not easy.”
Roufusport is home to several of the best MMA fighters in the world like the UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. However, Roufus said that he won’t have CM Punk partake in any sparring sessions with the gym’s top fighters, as Roufus wants to build Punk from the ground up.
“[CM Punk and I] are friends first, and we wouldn’t be friends if he couldn’t take an honest answer. But I’m not going to be putting him in with my team just yet. I’m going to do what I’ve done with some of my athletes in the past, which is build him from the ground up. His first sparring session will be with me, and I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 4, so I have incredible control. I can score on him but not hurt him. I can teach him, which is the first stage.”
Roufus also weighed in on the pressure CM Punk is facing, and how hardcore MMA fans strongly dislike the UFC’s decision to sign Punk, and are hoping that he fails.
“[CM Punk] is used to every man hating him. He is a black cat heel. Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. You see a lot of guys in the UFC attacking him or guys are hoping for a fight. Let’s face it, it’s prize fighting and CM Punk brings crowds.”
There are a lot of people who are wondering when CM Punk’s UFC debut will take place, and Roufus said that Punk will likely be ready to fight within six months but it could take up to a year to get him fully prepared to step foot inside the octagon.
[Image via MMA Junkie]