Here’s the short background for the MMA fan: CM Punk is a longtime WWE wrestler who trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, follows MMA closely, and pals around with Ariel Helwani and Chael Sonnen.
Inside the pro wrestling ring, Punk is regarded as one of the best professional wrestlers because of his stiff, realistic style, and propensity to use MMA holds in his matches. Punk is somewhat of a throwback WWE wrestler in that nothing he does looks fake; he works hard to make his matches physical and rough, even if the outcomes are predetermined.
A couple weeks ago, CM Punk walked out on the WWE, leaving many to believe that he was finally ready to try MMA, an idea that he had thrown out there a few times in the last year.
Most MMA followers have dismissed the rumors and laughed at the idea that a 35-year-old pro wrestler could walk into the UFC, Bellator or the World Series of Fighting and be competitive.
Punk, for now, is MIA, not saying what he will do next. What MMA hard-cores fail to understand is that it doesn’t matter if CM Punk could last a minute with Cain Velasquez; The fact is that Punk is one of the biggest names in professional wrestling and would bring instant attention to the UFC or any MMA organization he signs with.
If James Toney can fight Randy Couture on PPV, CM Punk can take an MMA fight in the UFC or anywhere. The audience will always be there for Punk. He would draw a big PPV buy rate. He can’t do any worse than Dave Batista, who looked pretty terrible in getting a TKO victory over an overmatched, out-of-shape opponent a little more than a year ago.
Punk is not a Brock Lesnar. Lesnar was an All-American NCAA Division 1 champion before he became WWE champion. He jumped from the WWE to the UFC, where he knocked out Couture to win the heavyweight title. Lesnar actually shocked a lot of people. No one expected him to win the heavyweight championship. Many people laughed at him too. Punk doesn’t have the combat sport pedigree that Lesnar does, but he does have athleticism, some training and a lot of desire.
CM Punk probably won’t be the next Brock Lesnar, but he could bring some much-needed entertainment value to MMA, and possibly surprise a few people too.