The jury is still out on whether WWE pro-wrestling superstar CM Punk’s transition to fighting in mixed martial arts for the UFC will be a success, but judging from the initial impressions of his new training partners at the Roufusport gym in Millwaukee the new recruit has settled in well and is giving it everything he’s got.
“CM Punk is awesome,” No.3 ranked welterweight contender Tyron Woodley told the ‘Inside MMA’ show on AXS TV. “He’s in there 3 days a week, an hour early to every practice. He’s a student of the sport. A lot of people were giving him a lot of crap, but after hanging out with him for 3 weeks I told him, ‘Anybody got a problem with CM Punk, you’ve got a problem with me’.
He’s bridging the gap the best way he knows how. For anybody who has been out of martial arts and not in the arena for that long, he’s doing exactly what he should do to make up that gap.
He’s doing private lessons, 12 to 14 of them a week. He’s in there working, and when he gets his fight announced, I can help him as much as I can to get ready for it.”
Even outspoken ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren has been praising CM Punk’s work ethic so far.
“He’s been awesome, he’s been great,” Askren told MMAjunkie at the World MMA Awards 2015 recently. “Comes in, works hard every single day.
“I think he understands the task at hand,” Askren continued. “When someone decides to come into the UFC and they don’t have a combat sports background, you’re kind of thinking, does he really understand what he’s getting into?” Askren told MMAjunkie. “But I think he gets it. I think he’s taking it very seriously.”
“I don’t see why he can’t compete,” Askren added later.
It’s still early days for Punk, aka Phil Brooks, though and it could well be late into the year before he is ready to undertake his first ever MMA bout under the bright lights of the UFC’s Octagon.