Will Phil Brooks, more popularly known as former WWE wrestler-turned-UFC fighter CM Punk, actually fight in the Octagon? Is this a serious endeavor for him? Even if he does fight, won't it just be two, perhaps three times tops?
"What's wrong with doing it just two or three fights? That's a lot of money," Punk told Colin Cowherd on Tuesday's The Herd radio show.
The debuting MMA fighter has certainly faced a fair amount of scrutiny through a number of professional changes and challenges. He retired from professional wrestling and left the WWE in 2014. In December of 2014, it was announced at UFC 181 that Punk would be making his UFC debut sometime in the next year.
After both a shoulder injury and back surgery, however, his debut has been quite delayed, leading some to speculate whether he'd fight in the Octagon at all. And, as of now, he will. Punk faces Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in September.
As he explained to Cowherd, he's always had a plan to never stay anywhere too long. How long will he fight in the Octagon? Perhaps not that long. Never more than he believes is intended or makes sense. That's a lesson he claimed he learned from his years as an entertainer in professional wrestling.
"I was the guy in wrestling that always had an exit strategy. I was always saying, 'I gotta get out of here.' That's why i'm just flabbergasted that people are actually like, 'Whoa, he left!'.
"I was surrounded by a lot of old timers on the independent scene before I went to WWE. They were always like, 'You gotta get out.' You gotta get in, you get out. You can make a stupid amount of money, but if you stick around you wear out your welcome. Something bad's going to happen.
"Guys that were legends in the sport, they made their money and for whatever reason, they didn't get out," he explained. "I always looked at that like, 'I'm going to listen to the old, wise sages'. I'm going to get in to get out."
Punk acknowledged the path to get to his September date has had unexpected delays, but as he noted, he's not out to necessarily please anyone, especially doubters or professional wrestling fans bitter at what they perceive to be his sudden departure from wrestling.
In fact, he's so confident that while he doesn't want to stay in MMA longer than is necessary, he's also not ruling out the possibility of what's attainable while he's in the UFC.
"I know people think this is a publicity stunt, I'm never going to set foot in the Octagon," he acknowledged. "I look forward to proving them wrong, but to me, it's not super far-fetched to be like, 'You know what? What if I put three or four wins together? Who's to say I don't get a title shot?'
"I'm a very positive thinking person. Of course I'm not going to saddle myself with this negativity that's, 'Oh, that's it for me'. Because to me in life, it's so cliche and it sounds so corny, so Karate Kid-like, but it's not about getting knocked down. It's about how many times you get up. That's why I train the way I do. I get knocked down in training every day, so on Sept. 10th I won't get knocked down."
For now, he admitted everyone on every side of the debate surrounding his UFC debut will continue to voice their opinion. There's nothing he can do to stop it and doesn't intend to try, at least not until he fights and puts an end to what he perceives are baseless attacks.
"To wrestling fans who say, 'Oh, this is B.S.'...the ones who say I'm going to fight one time are the same ones now saying I'm never going to make it to the Octagon. That's for them to say," Punk said. "They're entitled to their opinion, but I'll prove them all wrong."