Ex-WWE Star CM Punk Committed to MMA for the ‘Long Haul’ After UFC 203

By Tristen Critchfield Sep 1, 2016

The UFC debut of CM Punk has attracted a fair amount of attention, in large part because of his tenure as a sports entertainment superstar in the WWE, but also because he has been afforded the opportunity to make his first MMA foray on the grandest stage possible.

Punk, whose given name is Phil Brooks, will face Mickey Gall in a featured bout on the pay-per-view portion of UFC 203 (live odds) in Cleveland on Sept. 10. It’s taken Punk nearly two years to reach this point after his signing with the Las Vegas-based promotion was initially announced, and while the UFC rookie doesn’t want to speculate much past his bout with Gall, he believes it will ultimately be more than a one-time thing.

“I don’t think past this fight. I’m not focused on who No. 2 is gonna be. I’m just focused on this one,” Punk said during a conference call on Thursday. “But to say it’s one-and-done, I think that’s premature. But I’m also old enough and wise enough to know that you never say never. Who knows what’s gonna happen. I’m for sure in this for the long haul. I’ve got a decent number of fights on my contract and I’m looking to fulfill it and have fun doing it.”

Punk also expects to be a better version of the fighter than was portrayed on the documentary, “Evolution of Punk.” In that series, his MMA skill set appeared to be rudimentary at best, which is not especially surprising for someone of his experience level.

”It’s a correct depiction of where I was at when it was shot,” he said. “Three back surgeries walking around with a herniated disc, 15 percent power in my left leg. It’d be like me watching one of Mickey’s [old] fights and expecting to fight that guy. Mickey trains his ass off...he’s not gonna be the same guy he was in his last fight just like I’m not gonna be the guy you saw on the television show.”

Although Punk believes he has evolved since the documentary was filmed, he doesn’t take issue with what was on display for the MMA community or the criticism that followed.

“I wouldn’t say it’s unfair. Life’s unfair but you can’t listen to what somebody on the internet is saying about you. You dig hard enough you’ll find negative stuff about anybody,” he said. “I’m a positive guy. I know what I’m good, I know what I’m gonna be good at. What I did a year and a half ago doesn’t matter to me.”

Regardless of how his debut against Punk turns out, the Roufusport representative says that most anyone can take something away from his endeavor.

“Do what you want in life. Find something you love to do and do it for a living,” he said. “Don’t let people tell you can’t do something. Life’s too f---ing short to not enjoy it, to not have fun every day --to not do whatever it is that you want.”

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