In December 2014, the UFC signed former WWE champion CM Punk. It was a signing that was met with a healthy amount of derision. Two years later, Punk finally made his debut at UFC 203, getting demolished by Mickey Gall in slightly over two minutes. Punk hasn’t fought since then. But now, as a storm of rumors have kicked up about Punk getting a second shot in the UFC when the promotion returns to Chicago later this year, fans are left to consider what a second Punk fight will look like.
Well, according to his friend and coach, Duke Roufus, “better” is the answer.
Speaking to Luke Thomas yesterday on The Luke Thomas Show on SiriusXM Rush, Roufus said that Punk continued to improve since his loss to Gall and will look significantly better in his sophomore outing.
“200 percent [better],” said Roufus. “I’m not even his coach. We were friends first before we did this. I would not do this with anyone else except for my friendship with him from before he decided to fight. He’s just one hell of a guy. He’s a celebrity but he’s different than a lot of celebrities I know. Great guy. He works his ass off. He’s very well-liked on our team and he’s improved a lot.”
When Punk, real name Phil Brooks, signed with the UFC, he had no professional fighting background to speak of. Punk was just a retired professional wrestler who also was an avid MMA fan and wanted to try his hand at non-scripted fighting. And though he trained seriously for his UFC debut, Roufus was quick to point out that he did not get an easy debut opponent for a guy who has never fought before.
“Let’s face it, Mickey Gall was a tough draw,” said Roufus. “He’s done quite well in the UFC so far. I think the UFC did the right thing. We don’t want to defame the sport or damage it by putting him in an un-legitimate fight. That being said, it’s very hard. They want him to come in and beat somebody, ya know?”
Gall is an accomplished grappler turned legitimate prospect in the sport and their fight was never close to being close. . He earned the right to face CM Punk by beating Mike Jackson in his own UFC debut and the gulf in talent between Punk and Gall was obviously a bridge too far for Punk’s first fight. However, with another couple of years of training under him, Roufus says they have found a more suitable opponent for Punk to test himself against, though he won’t reveal any details at this time.
“We’re in the process of finishing up the bout agreement and the UFC’s gonna make the announcement soon,” said Roufus. “It’s a good match on both sides. Can’t confirm what date it is. Obviously we’re hoping it’s Chicago, to join Sergio and a bunch of our other teammates on that card.”
Punk also is a native of Chicago and has an enormous fan following there. When the UFC announced they would be returning to The Windy City for UFC 225 this summer, it was widely speculated that Punk would be on that card, possibly against the man Gall beat to get to fight him, Mike Jackson.
Whoever he is facing though, Roufus feels good about Punk’s progress in the sport because, he says, Punk has the most important aspect of any successful fighter, a great work ethic.
“He’s worked his butt off,” concluded Roufus. “Very dedicated guy and I respect him a lot because he comes in and takes his lumps. I’m not saying getting beat up or anything erroneously, but he comes in, he’s tired and he’s exhausted There’s no celebrity about him. He grinds just like everyone else. That’s why he got to the top of the wrestling world and that’s why I respect him so much. I love anyone that has a great attitude and works hard. You help but love them, win lose or draw. This is the fight game and it all comes down to effort most of the time.”
UFC 225 takes place on June 9th in Chicago, Illinois.
Raving. Floyd Mayweather says he’s going to start training MMA ‘soon,’ claims his wrestling game is a ‘seven’ out of 10.
The MMA Beat.
After the Beat.
Schaub’s Below the Belt.
Styles make fights.
Heavy Hands. Somewhat heated discussion about Manuwa-Blachowicz.
Before the Battle. Breaking down all the fights from UFC London.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
I know something— Darren Till (@darrentill2) March 15, 2018
No Time getting short shrift.
Because I hate myself and was curious, Dana White's new stats on EA UFC 3. pic.twitter.com/TFNXpBmkWK— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) March 15, 2018
The media’s so they don’t have to spend a full week to cover one event.
Who’s great idea was it to have media day with 100 interviews on the day when all of the fighters are cutting weight and can’t eat or drink— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) March 15, 2018
Chael being Chael.
>BREAKING NEWS<— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 15, 2018
Illinois Athletic Commisson has officially designated the @BellatorMMA Mir/Fedor match as an
It's now officially an— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 15, 2018
Big deal in Administrative circles— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 15, 2018
They had to print new forms for it
Midnight calls to Legislators in the Land o' Lincoln— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 15, 2018
But— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 15, 2018
They got it done
Good guy Khabib.
Tony Ferguson hates his own body.
What cards are coming up in foreign countries? Gotta figure out which accent to fake so I can book a fight. My husbands got me doing a pretty good Scottish accent. #UFCScotland https://t.co/hPenaKzgDn— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) March 15, 2018
I’ve got a lil Scottish in me... a few times a week pic.twitter.com/DTUv0GHyXV— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) March 15, 2018
Name a more iconic duo.
Erik Perez (17-6) vs. D.J. Fuentes (13-10, 1 NC); Combate Estrellas 2, April 20.
Matt Hamill (12-8) vs. Teddy Ash (9-3); Unified MMA, May 11.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
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