Despite his debut defeat to Micky Gall last year, former pro wrestler CM Punk is desperate for a return to UFC, with the fighter, real name Phil Brooks, reportedly in constant contact with President Dana White concerning another bout. The 38-year-old has personally suggested opponents and dates his way, with a Chicago event a natural fit, with Brooks extremely popular in his hometown.
Whatever the outcome, the UFC and White undoubtedly have a decision to make, either to put Brooks back in the cage, or live with the fact that another promotion will be happy to take a former pro wrestler with a huge fan base away from the UFC.
The future of CM Punk is unlikely to be at the forefront of White’s issues however, with many looking ahead to who can fill the void left by Conor McGregor and the likely to depart Ronda Rousey. The likes of Cody Garbrandt, Max Holloway, Jon Jones and Alexa Grasso are all names being touted, with the latter the overwhelming favorite with Betway to overcome Felice Herrig at the end of February.
Meanwhile, having ticked off two boxes from his list, by knocking out Takeya Mizugaki in August and beating Dominick Cruz in order to claim the bantamweight title at UFC 207 in December, Garbrandt is said to have devised a new list for 2017. At the top of such a list sits former teammate TJ Dillashaw, who the undefeated American faces later this year in the first of his title defenses. The duo have been handed equal odds of 2/1 by Betway to finish the year as champion, with little to choose between the two.
Elsewhere, Holloway is targeting a unification bout with Jose Aldo at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, with the American keen to further display his skills after taking just three rounds to defeat former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 206. His latest win was his tenth consecutive success, with the Hawaiian born fighter immediately calling out Aldo, in the hope of gaining a shot in February this year.