Perhaps the biggest news coming out of last night’s UFC 181 Event is that CM Punk has officially signed a 5 fight deal with the MMA company, and will be competing in the middleweight division. The news was broke on the broadcast in an interview with Joe Rogan.
During the interview he was referred to as CM Punk and the former WWE Champ owns the rights to his name so he could technically compete as Punk as well.
While some MMA fans are quick to dismiss the signing, Punk has been training for months under the famous Gracie family and Rener had nothing but positive things to say about his abilities.
He’s remarkable. He’s in the top tier of students that I’ve ever worked with as far as his retention ability goes — his athleticism and his ability to train for long periods of time, because he’s very resilient and very athletic.
WWE immediately deleted CM Punk’s Facebook page, but he has control over his Twitter account and he joked on the Colt Cabana podcast that he blocked them. He’s now looking for a camp and will be debuting at some point in late 2015:
There was a massive reaction from the pro wrestling industry on Twitter after the news broke. Rey Mysterio wrote:
Awesome to see my homie Punk at UFC 181 announcing his new career as a UFC fighter! Congrats & wish him the best… Kick some ASS homie!
Jim Ross Tweeted:
strike while the iron is hot. Timing is everything in sports & entertainment. I can see Punk overachieving in UFC.
Lance Storm wrote:
Got to respect CM Punk for having the balls to do what he wants. Win or lose if he steps into the cage his a bigger man than most.
Shane Helms said it was a good move from a promoter’s perspective:
How many 0-0 fighters in the modern era has UFC signed? CM Punk will bring new interest to UFC and that’s what “promotion” is all about.
UFC President Dana White insisted that Punk will be treated like any other fighter and he will not be thrown to the wolves, but also won’t be given any easy fights.
It’s not like Brock Lesnar. We’re not going to throw the kitchen sink at him. Lesnar had a wrestling background. (CM Punk) going to fight a guy who is 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 — something like that. He’s been coming to fights for a long time and after his WWE contract was up, he called me and said he wanted to give it a shot. I said, ‘All right. We’ll give you a shot.
Former WWE star Tyler Reks was not so positive in his response, Tweeting: “So Punk whined when Ryback was too stiff in the ring…can’t wait to see him in UFC.”
The ironic thing is that when you’re hurt in the UFC you don’t fight, and you’re certainly not travelling every day of the week. Although he’ll be fighting for real, health and condition-wise he’ll be in the best shape of his life.