The UFC promised a big announcement after the first bout on the main card of tonight’s UFC 181 card, and unlike at their ‘The Time is Now’ press event a few weeks ago, boy did they deliver. Professional wrestler and notorious mixed martial arts fan Phil “CM Punk” Brooks has signed with the company and plans to make his promotional debut next year.
In an interview with Joe Rogan, Punk said he’s “here to win or get my ass kicked.” Certain particulars of the deal, such as which weight class he’ll fight at, haven’t been finalized. The Chicago native said he’s planning on doing a test cut in the near future and expects to fight at either middleweight or welterweight.
Punk,whose tumultuous exit from WWE earlier this year was one of the most note-worthy stories in that industry, has no prior professional mixed martial arts experience. He is a close friend of Rener and Ryron Gracie, appearing in several of their noted ‘Gracie Breakdown’ videos. While Punk is officially a white belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Rener has claimed that’s because he wasn’t able to train with the brothers consistently enough to “concern [themselves] with belts.”
The signing has met with mixed reactions by the mixed martial arts community. Detractors have been quick to point out Punk’s lack of experience, especially in comparison to fighters like Ben Askren that the UFC has declined to sign in the past. Fans of the move note the publicity that another professional wrestler-turned-fighter, Brock Lesnar, brought the sport.
We will have to wait and see this story unfold in the coming months, but we already know at least one fighter lining up to fight Punk.
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