Just about six months ago, the longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era — CM Punk — announced that he had signed with the UFC, and would begin training for his eventual UFC debut as soon as possible. Just a few weeks after that, it was revealed that Punk would be training full-time at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is just a little over 90 miles from his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. However, the commute from Chicago to Milwaukee will no longer be a daily thing for Punk, as he has rented a house in Milwaukee so he can be closer to Roufusport.
CM Punk spoke to MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, and told him that training is going really well, and that he had just sparred for five full rounds for the very first time. Punk’s coach Duke Roufus also told Helwani that Punk’s training is going great, but he didn’t give a timetable for when his UFC debut will take place.
UFC President Dana White has continued to say that he won’t force CM Punk to fight before he’s ready to. The feeling has always been that Punk will make his debut before the end of this year, probably in December.
White spoke with TMZ at yesterday’s Reebok fight kit unveiling, and he was asked when we might see CM Punk step foot into the octagon. White said that Punk has gotten a tremendous amount of respect from his teammates and coaches because of his work-ethic, saying that “Punk is an absolute stud.” White also said that it’s likely that CM Punk will make his UFC debut early next year.
“First of all, let me start by saying this, the respect that this guy has earned from his team, his coaches… He’s a dog, man. He actually just moved to Milwaukee so he could be closer to training, and he’s committed to this thing. The guy is an absolute stud, and a joy to work with. He’s looking phenomenal. His deal is, he can call me when he’s ready to fight, and it’s on. I’m thinking early next year.”
CM Punk got heavily criticized after the UFC signed him last December due to the fact that he’s never had any competition experience in MMA. But, he’s slowly started to earn the respect of some of the sport’s most well-regarded fighters, including Ben Askren, who was very critical of the UFC signing Punk.
When Punk initially signed with the UFC, he said that he would love to make his debut in his hometown of Chicago, and the UFC has traditionally booked shows there in January, so both Dana White and CM Punk could be holding off his debut so he can have his first fight in his hometown.
[Image via Josh Hedges / Getty Images]