Former WWE star CM Punk quit WWE a little over a year ago, and just over two months ago announced that he had signed with the UFC. The announcement was met with an extremely polarizing reaction, not just from fans, but from fighters as well. As a matter of fact, one of CM Punk’s training partners — Ben Askren — criticized the UFC on Twitter, and said that the Punk signing didn’t make any sense. Since then, Askren has praised Punk, and said that Punk is coming along nicely, and should be able to hold his own inside the octagon.
“I was just talking s**t on Twitter. It’s what I do. He’s been outstanding in the gym. He’s been in there every day. It’s not like he came in here and said, ‘I’m a superstar, I’m going to get preferential treatment.’ He just acts like one of the guys, just working out. It’s outstanding.”
WTMJ TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — where CM Punk is training — did a news piece on Punk, which included an interview and some training footage. The footage didn’t show Punk working on his striking, and only showed his grappling work.
In the interview, CM Punk says that he agrees with Ben Askren, and that the UFC signing him doesn’t make any sense. Askren — who has an undefeated record of 14-0, and is the former Bellator Welterweight Champion before his contract expired and he decided to sign with ONE FC — was turned down by the UFC, and when UFC President Dana White was asked to explain why, White said that Askren didn’t have enough experience. So Punk can understand Askren’s frustration with the UFC choosing to sign a former pro wrestler with no MMA background.
At the end of the interview Punk was asked about pro wrestling, and if he left the door open for a return. Punk said that he doesn’t ever think about wrestling because he’s focused on his new career. In past interviews Punk hasn’t completely ruled out a return to pro wrestling, but if his UFC career ends up going well, it’s extremely unlikely that he’ll be returning to WWE any time soon.
The UFC still hasn’t announced an opponent for Punk, or the date for his UFC debut. Most people are expecting him to debut in August at the earliest, but a more realistic expectation is October or November. Punk will likely compete in the middleweight division, and UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta is promising that Punk’s opponent will be someone that the fans will recognize.
[Image via WTMJ]