CM Punk was completely outclassed in his MMA debut at UFC 203, but the 37-year-old wants to continue fighting. The problem is, UFC president Dana White is not sure if Punk has a future in the promotion.
Punk, real name Phil Brooks, went up against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt Mickey Gall and was submitted via rear-naked choke just two minutes into the first round. The former WWE champion signed with the UFC in 2014 but a series of injuries delayed his Octagon debut.
White, who scouted Punk’s opponent on ‘Lookin’ For a Fight’, respects Brooks as an athlete but doesn’t think he’s cut out for the UFC.
“Is CM Punk going to be a guy who is going to stay in the UFC and continue to fight? Probably not,” White said on UFC Tonight, per Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog.com. “But he wanted to try it. I like the guy. I respect the guy. He wanted to fight in the UFC. He wanted to do it. He trained for two years, and he did it.”
Punk trained under Milwaukee’s Duke Roufus, and was somewhat hyped as a natural striker on YouTube’s ‘The Evolution of Punk’ documentary series. Unfortunately for Punk, the former professional wrestler was taking down in the opening ten seconds and didn’t get to showcase his striking arsenal.
White went on to reference Brock Lesnar, a WWE star who captured the UFC heavyweight title in 2008. Lesnar, though, had a wealth of combat sports experience under his belt and was an accomplished NCAA Division I wrestler.
“There’s been situations like Brock Lesnar who came in and wanted to do it, and obviously that one turned out well,” he said. “Then obviously we had the CM Punk thing. It just depends. I wouldn’t say that I’m looking for retired NFL players for pay-per-view or anything like that. I just don’t know what the real interest is in seeing some of these guys fights or even if it makes sense.”
If Punk’s UFC career is over, it’s likely that the Chicago-born talent will soon be picked up by another MMA promotion - possibly Bellator.
Coach Roufus, who also trains former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, claimed that plenty of other promotions are interested in signing Punk and is optimistic of his future.
"I know he wants to get back on the mat and keep working. I had a plethora of promoters reach out to me but I'm not his manager. People have shown great interest in working with him."