While from the start CM Punk has made it clear that his signing with the UFC would not turn out to be a celebrity one-and-done type of situation, but until recently, it wasn’t known just how many fights the former WWE Superstar would be committing to. Now, it is. Punk spoke with The U.K. Sun this week and revealed that he will be fighting “at least” eight times.
“I can’t honestly answer how many (fights) I’m gonna have,” Punk said to the U.K. media outlet. “We’ll wait and see how the first one goes. But there’s gonna be eight, at least.”
Following the announcement by the UFC regarding how they plan to handle his Octagon debut, we have learned more about Punk’s MMA endeavor in the last week than the several months that preceded it. It appears that during that year, while fans weren’t getting much information, Punk was, in fact, getting the training — and confidence — required to succeed in the sport.
“Can I say a thousand percent,” Punk said with a chuckle when asked how much he has improved after training intensely with Duke Roufus at the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the past six months.
Punk continued, “Because I get better every day. And that’s what really kinda excites me about this whole thing – I know how much I’ve grown since the last time I talked to you. I know how much I’ve improved since the first time I stepped foot in Duke’s gym. And looking at June or July as a fight date I get kinda (excited) thinking how much better I’m gonna be from now until then. I get better every day.”
While UFC President Dana White recently claimed that the promotion would likely have Punk make his fighting debut at UFC 199 in June, as opposed to the landmark UFC 200 in July. Punk, however, prefers the big event because of the big money that comes with it, although he is quick to point out that it’s not the money that is fueling his competitive ambition.
“It’s really kinda weird,” Punk said. “Yeah, I’d rather be on (UFC) 200 because monetarily I’d be making more money, and that’s the big show. But I’m not doing this whole thing for money, so it almost kinda doesn’t matter to me. But since it’s only a month later it’s like ‘oh yeah, why don’t we push it?.'”
As noted, the UFC revealed their intentions for Punk’s UFC debut, announcing that at UFC 196 in February, Mickey Gall will be fighting Michael Jackson in a preliminary bout and with a win, will officially get penciled in as Punk’s first-ever UFC opponent. As Punk explains he doesn’t mind the fact that Gall called him out after his MMA debut, which was shown on Dana White’s “Lookin’ For A Fight” reality show, because where he comes from, that is standard procedure.
“Absolutely. It’s not like all the other guys talking behind a computer,” said Punk. “He recognized his audience, he knew he had Dana’s ear – he was front row and center for his first fight – and he called me out.”
Punk continued, “I wouldn’t say it was calculated. It was right place, right time and he did what he had to do. He didn’t let that opportunity slip through his fingers.”
Despite the WWE-like call-out, and the fact that Punk has confirmed he will be using his former WWE ring name of “CM Punk” instead of his real name (Phil Brooks), he insists that he won’t be “fabricating his persona” during the build-up to his Octagon debut.
“I have no plans to have any kind of a fabricated persona. But if it gets personal I’m sure I’d have a dozen quick-witted things to say. But I don’t really feel the need that it’s gonna get personal. I’ve got nothing personal against him. I’m gonna beat him up and choke him – and it’s just business.”
In another example of his rising confidence, Punk explained why whoever he fights will be in for a rude awakening when his first UFC fight is in the books.
“I’m a mystery,” said Punk. “A lot of people like to throw that pro wrestling card out there, like ‘he’s a fake wrestler’ and that’s great. That’s great for me. I want them to think that. I want them to think that I’m not training and they’re in for an easy night, because it’s the exact opposite. It’s going to be a rude awakening for whoever I fight, if that’s their attitude about it.”
In terms of people doubting him, Punk explains why they will be disappointed and if they put their money where their mouths are, they will come to realize they are backing the wrong horse.
“I expect people to be disappointed,” Punk explained. “I expect all those people that think I’m gonna get knocked out in 10 seconds to be disappointed. I expect people to bet against me and lose their money. I expect people to get divorced because they’re upset that their wife wanted me to win and they wanted me to lose, you know?”
Punk concluded, “But the people who have stood by me and supported me know it’s business as usual. They know what kind of person I am and they know how I am at the gym. And once that cage door shuts it’s between one minute and 15 minutes before the fight ends and my hand gets raised.”