CM Punk’s lackluster performance at UFC 203 opened up a lot of questions about his future, with the main one being: will he continue his MMA career? And if he does, will the UFC allow him compete in their organization again? The answer to the first question is yes, as Punk said at the UFC 203 post-fight press conference that he plans on fighting again. In fact, according to Chael Sonnen, he was back at Roufusport training on the Monday following his loss. The answer to the second question is one that no one knows. As of this writing, the UFC hasn’t decided to cut him, and there’s actually a chance that they may allow him to fight again because of how much attention his first fight got.
If the UFC ends up cutting Punk, then he’ll likely go to Bellator, as they’ll probably throw a ton of money his way to bring him in. But, if he does just as poorly in Bellator as he did in his UFC debut, will he return to pro wrestling? Right now, no one really knows. But Chris Jericho, who was one of Punk’s main rivals during his time in WWE, speculated on whether or not he believes Punk will return to WWE after his mixed martial arts career is over when he appeared on Chael Sonnen’s podcast.
“I don’t really know if [Punk will return to WWE] because [he’s] a real complex individual. It would be a big deal for him to come back to WWE. If anything, I could see him putting on a mask, and coming back at Ring of Honor or something like that. He’ll do something different, where no one even knows, at some s***ty little independent show, where he comes in unadvertised.”
Punk actually teased that he would return to the ring under a mask during an interview on ESPN Radio before his UFC debut, and he made it clear that he wasn’t planning on returning to WWE.
During the Sonnen podcast, Jericho pointed out that Bret Hart returned to WWE after saying that he would never go back, and that even Guns N’ Roses got back together after 20 years of being apart, with his point being that Punk should “never say never” when people ask him if he’s going to return to WWE after he decides to leave the world of MMA.
Punk, who was the longest reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion of his generation, walked out of WWE in January of 2014 due to health issues, and overall frustration with his spot in the company. His walkout led to WWE firing him on his wedding day, which, according to Punk himself, was something that he’ll never be able to forgive, which is why he says he’ll never go back to WWE, even if he decides to return to pro wrestling.
So, what’s next for CM Punk? Well, on a recent edition of MMA Junkie Radio, Mike Jackson, who also has a professional MMA record of 0-1, said that he wants to be Punk’s next UFC opponent. The 0-1 record isn’t the only thing that the two men have in common, as Jackson was also submitted by Mickey Gall in the very first round via rear-naked choke.
Both Jackson and Punk don’t have a ton of pro MMA experience, so the fight makes sense, and given the fact that Punk is now a proven draw in the UFC, there’s a strong chance that they book him for another pay-per-view fight against Mike Jackson at some point later this year, or at the beginning of next year.
[Featured images via Rey Del Rio/Getty Images, Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]