CM Punk is the big news of the moment in the UFC. Since his signing was announced last weekend at UFC 181, no MMA fighter has taken as much headline space as the former pro-wrestler. Everyone is weighing in with an opinion, from Nate Diaz, to Cole Miller, to Michael Bisping. Few seem without an opinion, whether it's good or bad. Which is, of course, exactly what the UFC hoped for when the brought him on board, that fans, fighters, and media would be polarized.
That doesn't mean that Phil Brooks (CM Punk's real name) is out hyping his own skills however. He recently gave an interview to Fox Sports Live, where he seemed fairly staid on his own expectations of success and whether or not he deserved to be in the UFC. (transcription via Cage Side Seats)
"Deserve, that's the key word I suppose. I'm not really going to say that I do deserve it. I think time will tell if I deserve it or not. Respect has to be earned, not just given. I very much understand that. And I understand the perspective of a lot of the fighters but some of them are just trying to jump on the bandwagon too, call names and pick fights. That's what they're supposed to do, that's the fight game, and I appreciate that. I just roll with the punches. I'll take all the positive stuff and leave all the negative stuff behind."
While he still hasn't decided 100% on a weight class or a gym ( in part, apparently, because he's worried about training partners that might actively try to injure him), Brooks did comment on his sparring:
"I mean like full blown sparring, like going in there and doing the most simulated thing you could do besides stepping into an Octagon. I've only done that with some inexperienced people and just a few times. So there's definitely... you said it, I mentioned in the Rolling Stone article that striking would be my biggest weakness. When I say sparring with killers, there are a lot of guys out there that are amazing at striking and I would love to learn from them but I'm not going to be sparring with them within the next 15 minutes or anything like that."
He talked about his BJJ training as well, saying that 'I've never even gotten my blue belt." You can check out the whole thing, below.