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James Romano Examines The Impending UFC Debut of CM Punk

Is The Voice of the Voiceless About To Be Heard?

CM Punk has yet to fight in a UFC Octagon, but the anticipation of his debut is still at a fever pitch. While the world prepares for the McGregor vs Diaz rematch as the main event of UFC 200, the question becomes “outside of Ronda Rousey, what does UFC have up its sleeve after UFC 200?” The answer is wrapped around the former WWE Superstar who broke all conventions to become the longest reigning WWE Champion in modern history, Phil Brooks AKA CM Punk. As we examine the impending debut of Punk in UFC, as full disclosure, I need to mention our boss Paul Heyman recused himself from reviewing or editing this story based on his friendship with Punk, and Michael 24/7 was in charge of editing and fact-checking. With that out of the way, let’s talk about CM Punk!

As anticipation continues to build toward CM Punk‘s eventual UFC debut, VICE Sports recently posted a video documenting his training at the Prudential Center, home of the NHL‘s New Jersey Devils, letting the cameras roll as Punk hit the weights while reflecting on his gutsy journey to the Octagon, refusal to let his previous career define him, and challenging himself to conquer the next chapter of his life.

“I could be sitting at home in my bed eating ice cream everyday, but I chose to do this and I’m either crazy or I have balls.”, Punk told VICE, addressing the ever-present controversy and criticism surrounding his transition from professional wrestling to the UFC.

Punk also brought up his other career, writing the insanely awesome Drax comic book for Marvel. “Oddly enough, there’s no other comic book writers who are pissed that I’m writing a comic book.”, Punk jokingly jabbed at his detractors in the world of MMA.

Along side CM Punk was his trainer and friend, UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin, who attested to Punk’s aforementioned balls and/or craziness and the trepidation that comes with the territory of stepping into the Octagon for the first time. “It’s hard, period. It’s a different thing. It’s a combination of different types of fear; not just the fear of getting beat up in front of your mother, but the fear of failing in front of a large number of people. And people try and say ‘I don’t care what people think’, but you care a little bit about what people think.”, Griffin explained.

“Even if you don’t care what people are thinking of you, you gotta realize you’re going to be on Pay-Per-View in front of a national audience and an arena full of 10, 20, 30 thousand people. Yeah, that creeps into your mind.” Punk added, “Do I care about what somebody who I don’t know on Twitter says about me? No. But I would like to make my wife proud. I’m standing on [Forrest Griffin’s] shoulders, guys who came before me. I would like to shock people, I would like to make people that I look up to and respect say ‘oh shit, you know what? Good for you. You did good. You did what you had to do and you trained and you did us proud.'”

A week after VICE filmed the piece, Punk announced that he would undergo back surgery for a longstanding injury, further delaying his highly-anticipated UFC debut against an opponent dead set on giving him a rude welcoming to MMA: Green Brook, New Jersey’s Mickey Gall.

As CM Punk currently works his way back from injury and further prepares for his much-awaited Octagon arrival, all while embracing the criticism and shade thrown his way, check out the VICE Sports video for a glimpse at his training. And while you’re at it, kindly consider feeding Forrest Griffin’s kids by paying to see Punk fight.

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