CM Punk retired from UFC competition as he returns to professional wrestling

CM Punk makes weight at the UFC 203 weigh-ins Friday morning in Cleveland.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

CM Punk has notified the UFC that he has retired from mixed martial arts competition as he makes his full-time return to professional wrestling.

UFC officials confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Tuesday.

The move from Punk (real name Phil Brooks) isn’t exactly shocking considering he hasn’t fought since 2018 when he lost a unanimous decision to Mike Jackson at UFC 225. That loss was later overturned to a no-contest due to Jackson testing positive for marijuana.

While it seemed like Punk had long since put fighting behind him, the now 42-year-old mixed martial arts enthusiast remained part of the UFC’s anti-doping program through 2020 as he was regularly being tested by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

He was actually tested six time in 2020 alone.

His status changed in 2021, however, as Punk has not been tested at all this year as he notified the UFC about his retirement while plotting his return to pro wrestling after inking a deal with upstart promotion All Elite Wrestling,

Punk’s entry into the UFC was met with a lot of skepticism after he left his previous job with World Wrestling Entertainment and then started pursuing a potential fighting career. Despite previously only dabbling in grappling through Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, Punk was offered an opportunity to compete by UFC president Dana White.

He officially signed in 2014 but took more than a year to train for his debut while primarily working under head coach Duke Roufus and his team in Milwaukee. A back injury delayed his first fight but Punk eventually made his first appearance at UFC 203 in 2016 where he faced Mickey Gall.

The fight lasted just past the two-minute mark in the opening round as Gall submitted Punk with a rear-naked choke. Punk then took another long hiatus before booking his second fight against Jackson in 2018.

All signs pointed towards Punk possibly being released but he remained on the UFC roster while he transitioned into a commentary role while working for East coast-based promotion Cage Fury Fighting Championships.

Finally after seven years away from the ring, Punk signed a new deal to join AEW where he’s expected to make his debut for the promotion in September.

Overall, Punk’s run with the UFC will end with an 0-1 record with one no-contest, but since he’s technically retired, he could potentially return to the organization in the future if he ever decides to fight again.


What ???

I thought he was fast tracked to face Usman !!!

Welcome Home

…we missed Punk in the squared-circle. Let the fighters fight and the performers perform.

Thank you

Not about Jake Paul.

About a real fi—

At least it was MMA!

Too bad

With much more activity, he may have eventually overthrown Artem Lobov as the GOAT.

Artem did better

boxing against Paulie Malinaggi than Conor did


will he be in the ufc hof?

This guy has balls

With the following he has, its like the whole world was watching his MMA debut. And it was against a real, legit young fighter as well. No matter how bad he was, he took it seriously and only showed humility and respect for the sport. Also thankful for the laughs.

the guy was a goof

talking mad shit about how he loved the lifestyle, was a born fighter, will do MMA for years even if he has to do it for free

I believe that he believed it, when he said it.

As far as I know.

He still trains MMA, he just won’t compete anymore – in fact, his teammates at RoufusSport have always complimented his worth etics and dedication to the sport, so there’s really nothing suggesting he said anything false at the time.

Don't judge him too harshly as far as ability goes...

Dude started training at 36 with his body beaten to shit by the rigors of the pro wrestling lifestyle.

Maybe if he’d started in his teens or even early 20s he could have had a different story in mma.

it's not about him losing

it’s about him fighting twice in the UFC and then giving up, when he insisted it wasn’t about the pay day, and that he was already rich, and would fight for free etc. etc.

it was such bullshit

That was before he fought and learned about himself.

It took me three fights to realise that I don’t have that switch where I can make myself believe that it’s okay to hurt another person unless I’m angry at them or defending myself. Technique was there, but I’m too nice a guy to actually want to hurt and do damage to someone that hasn’t wronged me. That and injuries are the reasons for me not fighting anyone.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t fully believe before getting in there that I was going to shred through people in the cage and love doing it.

This is so true.

Having the skillset and applying the skillset are two very different things. It takes a lot to punch another person with menace, despite feeling no type of fear or ill will towards the guy. Some can do it, but most can’t – some people, myself including, become aware of that in the gym, while others only learn that, once they’ve got an opponent standing across the cage. But the very fact that CM Punk did what most people wouldn’t, is very respectable and him continuing to train MMA despite not intending to fight, in my opinion, only confirms he wasn’t bullshitting back then.

I mean lets be honest even if he did want to keep doing it who could the UFC have thrown him

he lost to a photographer. Hats off to him for trying and seemingly taking it serious. The criticisms should be at the UFC for giving him an opportunity he didnt deserve

To be fair, he did mma for years, took on the lifestyle

Definitely wasn’t a born fighter though lol

Well said!

Thanks for the memories.

Getting beat up by Mickey Gall. Getting beat up by the MMA journalist.

Gall got lucky he dodged the right-hand of death

At least his eyes could follow the target lol

All that time I wasted...

…sitting on the edge of my seat with my fingers crossed. For nothing.

CM Punk gets to walk away, Scot free...

And GSP is stuck with UFC contract until he dies?
Dana is such a prick!

I thought GSP was in his contract until he fought it out too

But apparently it expires in a year or two he claims in this article. I didn’t know UFC contracts expired.

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