On December 6, 2014, at UFC 181, former WWE professional wrestler CM Punk officially announced that he had signed with the UFC. Punk’s decision to jump into mixed-martial-arts didn’t come as a shock to those who had closely followed his pro wrestling career, but his decision to sign with the UFC was somewhat of a surprise, only because of his lack of both amateur and professional MMA experience.
It’s been over a year since CM Punk signed on the dotted line with the UFC, and he hasn’t even been close to making his octagon debut.
Punk has spent all of 2015 training at Roufusport in Milwaukee under head MMA coach Duke Roufus and alongside teammates Ben Askren and Anthony Pettis.
On the year-end edition of UFC Tonight, the current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, and former UFC featherweight Kenny Florian expressed some concern over the fact that CM Punk, with a year of training full-time under his belt, still hasn’t made his UFC debut.
When talking about CM Punk’s eventual UFC debut, Cormier, who is a huge pro wrestling fan, admitted that he’s excited to see Punk make his UFC debut, but he feels that, as more time passes, the ex-WWE Champion’s debut is losing its intrigue. DC also added that Punk should have made his UFC debut right after he left WWE in January of 2014, which, of course, wasn’t even a possibility due to contractual issues.
“I’m excited to see [CM Punk] make his debut. But I do think as time is passing, it starts to lose some of the intrigue. I think the iron was hot when he first walked out on the WWE and that’s when I think he would have made the biggest impression on the MMA community. Because WWE fans would have followed him to MMA.”
When CM Punk signed with the UFC, it was promised that he would make his debut at some point in 2015, and the fact that he hasn’t concerns Kenny Florian.
While expressing his concern over CM Punk not being able to make his debut this year, Florian did give Punk the benefit of the doubt, saying that he knows that the former WWE Champ has been dealing with some injuries, but he also added that Punk’s training may not be going as smoothly as the coaches at Roufusport and the UFC brass expected it to go.
“Let’s talk about some of that time passing, this is what really concerns me because they said [CM Punk] was going to fight in 2015, he needs some time to train. Well, it hasn’t happened. I know he’s dealt with some other injuries and things like that, but the fact that they say he’s not ready concerns me. It shows you don’t just jump into this sport and say you’re going to compete. It takes time, and there’s a process and there’s a reason why they’re telling him to take his time. I think his training isn’t coming along as fast as they thought, and it’s unfortunate.”
UFC President Dana White recently appeared on TSN’s Off the Record with Michael Landsberg, and he promised that CM Punk would fight at some point in 2016, presumably at UFC 200 in July, which will likely end up being the biggest UFC show of all-time.
On Monday, EA Sports confirmed that CM Punk will appear in the EA Sports: UFC 2 video game, which is going to be released in the spring of 2016. So, it looks like Punk’s first UFC fight will take place in a video game, instead of on pay-per-view.
[Featured image via Mike Roach / Getty Images]