CM Punk on MMA career: ‘I did things backward’

CM Punk is gearing up for his broadcast debut on UFC Fight Pass where he will be commentating for a CFFC card on Dec. 14 at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Punk is still training mixed martial arts under the tutelage of Duke Roufus but hasn’t fought since his June 2018 unanimous decision loss to Mike Jackson at UFC 225. At least he went the distance. There is that.

His UFC debut took place in Sept. 2016 against Mickey Gall and he was choked out in just two-minutes and fourteen seconds so there does appear to be improvement. However now at the ripe age of 40, the UFC is not really the best place for CM Punk to cut his proverbial MMA teeth. And the former WWE superstar agrees with that.

“I did things backward,” Punk said, with a laugh in a new interview with Newsday. “I jumped in the deep end. But everybody’s path is different. I do think there needs to be a feeder system where people can get their feet wet.”

Well, there is a “feeder” system. It’s called the regional MMA circuit where fighters build up to the big show and it’s not much different than how things happen in professional wrestling. The main difference being a UFC superstar like Ronda Rousey can make a successful transition to the big show in pro wrestling, whereas it’s not the same if you’re a pro wrestler trying to crossover to MMA, unless you’re a Brock Lesnar who was a real high-level collegiate wrestler to start with.

We likely aren’t going to see CM Punk back inside the UFC Octagon. But he’s not ruling out MMA altogether. “Since my last fight, I’ve been juggling a half-dozen things,” Punk said. “I kind of gave myself a deadline of the beginning of the new year to find out what is coming next. I don’t rule anything out, absolutely not.”

Will we see CM Punk taking MMA fights on the regional circuit? UFC Fight Pass has a host of regional shows on their online network where he could potentially fight. A lot of promotions could benefit from the exposure he would bring. Whether they could actually afford to pay him the type of money he would command, that’s rather unlikely. The MMA broadcast booth may be his best option if he wants to be involved with the sport at this point. Because the truth of the matter is most any regional MMA champion out there would still mop the floor with him.

Punk said he wouldn’t do anything differently though. After all, he worked with what he had to work with, took the training seriously and capitalized on an opportunity. It just didn’t work out. And sometimes that’s just the way it goes. “I was presented with an opportunity that, if I was talking to you today and didn’t do, I’d regret,” Punk said. “I absolutely do not regret my decision one bit.”

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