Duke Roufus is singing the praises of CM Punk.
This Saturday night (June 9) Punk will make his second and perhaps final Octagon appearance. He’ll meet Mike Jackson on the main card of UFC 225. It’s a special moment for Punk, as he’ll be competing in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
In his mixed martial arts debut, Punk was submitted in the first round by Mickey Gall. Many agreed that the bout was a mismatch as Gall was undefeated as an amateur and a pro and he also had a brown belt in jiu-jitsu.
Speaking to Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com, Punk’s coach Roufus believes his fighter has made significant improvements to his game:
“Incredibly. The first fight, I’m not gonna lie, we all rolled the dice. It was like this crazy science project. I haven’t been that nervous before a fight before, honestly. And we’re really good friends. Ariel Helwani and myself and Chael Sonnen in Chicago in January 2013, we all sat together with Punk and watched Ben Askren beat Karl Amoussou when Thursday night Bellator was on. We hit it off very well from that point. We became friends. I personally care for the guy very much. He’s a solid individual. It was nerve-wracking.”
Rofus is happy to say that the nerves aren’t a factor this time. That’s because he feels Punk has developed a fighter’s instinct:
“That being said, I don’t have those nerves coming into this one, because we had a session [Sunday] with coach [Scott Cushman] and with coach [Daniel] Wanderley with Punk and everything just seemed just all together. Not that he was struggling, but he just peaked out. It’s like he understand the sixth sense of fighting. It took him a while to get that. That’s the thing. Everyone knows the Xs and Os of this stuff and we teach you the Xs and Os, the theories. But there’s instinct. And the instinct if there — the reactions, the seeing things before they happen. Having that sixth sense and he had it. I’m very happy about that. Sometimes fighters never get that.”
Do you think CM Punk will showcase his improvements at UFC 225?