Former professional wrestler CM Punk finally took part in his first sparring session on Tuesday at the Roufusport gym on Tuesday, and according to CM Punk’s coach — Duke Roufus — Punk has a lot of potential, but has a lot of things to work on before he’ll be ready to make his UFC debut.
In an Instagram post following Punk’s first sparring session, Roufus noted that Punk is making progress every day, and is showing a lot of determination. Punk’s first sparring session was against Craig Eckelberg, who has an undefeated professional record of 4-0.
It’s still unclear when Punk will make his UFC debut, or what weight class he’ll make that debut at. But since he was in the cage with a welterweight, it’s possible that Punk could try to fight at welterweight, which is 170 pounds. In an interview with a local news station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – where Punk is training – many people noted that it looked like Punk had dropped a lot of weight, which could indicate that he’s making a serious effort to be a UFC welterweight.
When Punk was originally asked the weight class question back in December, he said that he would likely be fighting at middleweight, which is 185 pounds, and Punk immediately ruled out the possibility of him fighting at light heavyweight, which is 205 pounds. During his professional wrestling days, Punk’s weight was announced at 218 pounds, which is likely accurate — although WWE does tend to embellish its wrestlers’ weight.
Roufusport – for the most part – specializes in striking, and when Punk began training there, that’s where he felt he needed the most work. In an interview with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, Punk said that he has a background in Kempo, which is a form of Karate. Punk also infrequently did Jiu-Jitsu training while he was in WWE, and feels like that’s the strongest part of his game.
Even though it’s expected that CM Punk will make his UFC debut at some point this year, he says that he will not allow himself to step into the octagon before he feels ready. UFC President Dana White says that he won’t pressure Punk to fight, and that it’s up to Punk to decide when he wants to debut.
CM Punk’s UFC debut will be on pay-per-view, and will likely co-headline with another major fight. The UFC expects Punk to do Brock Lesnar-like numbers for them on pay-per-view, and — who knows — maybe Punk will debut on the same card where Lesnar makes his UFC return.
[Image via Duke Roufus / Instagram]