Phil Brooks began his career as a wrestler for WWE. Since December 2014, he has been CM Punk with the UFC. He signed on as a professional MMA fighter without any experience, other than wrestling.
Fans are skeptical of Punk’s entrance into the MMA octagon. It is believed the UFC signed him because of the numbers he could bring to pay-per-view events with his WWE fans.
On Sept. 10, 2016, Punk will make his welterweight UFC debut, hosted by the Quicken Loans Arena, in Cleveland. Mickey Gall, his opponent, has been in the octagon three times and MMA analysts believe he will easily take out the new UFC fighter.
Punk told USA Today Sports that the trainers he works with every day, expect him to win. However, fans of the UFC anticipate a quick knock out.
Head coach Duke Roufus said he has a focused athlete who is constantly improving. It is not the fans that drive the athletes, it is the fight, according to Roufus. It is common knowledge to any athlete that they can lose the bout mentally before they even enter the arena.
Dana White, UFC president, was confronted with questions as to Punk’s gimmick, and why he was signed on with UFC. White replied that it did not matter because his new fighter was putting in his time at the gym and “checked his WWE at the door.” He is working hard and has earned the respect of his teammates. White says Punk has no ego.
Punk says he is proving to himself that he can do this and it is for his personal achievement and growth. “It is not about the destination – it’s about the journey,” he told USA Today Sports.
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