UFC News: Dana White Confirms That CM Punk Will Fight Next Year, Says He’s Searching For The Ex-WWE Champion’s Opponent

We’re nearing the one-year anniversary of CM Punk announcing that he’s signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and he still hasn’t made his debut inside the octagon.

Many figured that CM Punk would, at the earliest, make his UFC debut at the end of this year. But that’s clearly not happening. So, when will the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion make his much-anticipated debut inside the octagon? The exact date is still unknown, but UFC president Dana While appeared on TSN’s Off the Record with Michael Landsberg, and he guaranteed that Punk would fight at some point in 2016.

White also mentioned that he is in the process of searching for an opponent for Punk, and, as of right now, there’s not a clear-cut guy who he wants to see fight Punk in his debut.

“I didn’t know [if CM Punk would fight in the first year]. It’s the first time this guy has ever trained to fight. The guy has never wrestled. He’s professional wrestled but he’s never wrestled. He will fight next year, 100-percent.”

“I just started a new show, the pilot is on YouTube, it’s called ‘Dana White Looking for a Fight,’ and I’m actually out looking for opponents for CM Punk right now.”

When CM Punk signed with the UFC, he initially thought that he would fight at some point this year. However, due to his coaches not feeling that he’s quite ready, and, also due to injuries, Punk’s debut has been held off.

Before Punk’s injury was made public, he did an interview with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, and said that he would really like to fight before the end of the year. He also said that he believes that he’ll make his UFC debut in the spring of next year at the very latest, barring injury.

The UFC has filmed quite a bit of CM Punk’s training since he joined the Roufusport team, and the idea behind that is to show the footage leading up to the event, as they want Punk’s debut to seem like a major deal, and it probably will be.

There is some speculation that the UFC will hold off CM Punk’s debut until UFC 200 next July, which, if everything goes right, may end up being the biggest show of all-time. Potentially, it could feature the Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey women’s bantamweight title rematch, as well as Conor McGregor’s very first featherweight championship defense, should he defeat Jose Aldo at next weekend’s UFC 194.

If UFC 200 features Rousey vs. Holm, and McGregor against someone like Frankie Edgar or Urijah Faber, CM Punk’s fight would be, at the very most, third from the top.

Up until several weeks ago, there was some speculation that the UFC would have CM Punk debut against MMA veteran Cathal Pendred, due to the very public issues between the two. But, that fight appears to be completely off the table, as Pendred, following his TKO loss to Tom Breese back in October, retired with a record of 15 wins, 4 loses, and 1 draw. His record in the UFC was 4-2.

There are plenty of UFC welterweights and middleweights who want the fight with CM Punk because they know it’ll be a big money fight, and they believe that it’ll be a “night off” for them. So, Dana White should’t run into too much trouble while trying to find the ex-WWE Champ’s debut opponent.

It’s expected that Punk will end up fighting at welterweight, which is 170 pounds. However, Punk has said that he doesn’t rule out the possibility of fighting at middleweight, which is 185 pounds. He has also completely ruled out the possibility of fighting at 205 pounds.

[Featured image via Josh Hedges / Getty Images]