Former WWE champion CM Punk has spent the entirety of 2015 preparing for his UFC debut. Training with Duke Roufus at his Roufusport gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Punk is part of a team with some World Champion calibre fighters, among them Anthony Pettis (ex-UFC lightweight champion) and Ben Askren (current ONE FC welterweight champion). Yet a year of training also means a year of anticipation and wonder for fans and critics of the pro wrestler turned mixed martial artist. And as 2015 draws to a close, speculation as to just when Punk, a.k.a. Phil Brooks, will make his way to the cage abounds. When is probably the wrong question to ask, however. Frankly, Punk's debut in the UFC will happen when it happens, though there is at least one date - one event - that certainly makes sense. That said, the real question to ask is "What should we expect?" What will Punk's MMA debut look like?
10. He Won't Be Fighting Anyone With Name Value
We're heard a lot of rumours about who CM Punk would be fighting in his UFC debut. Cathal Pendred, who recently retired from mixed martial arts, and who was a member of Conor McGregor's camp (SBG), claimed he'd welcome the ex-wrestler to the fold. That may have been Pendred trying to talk himself into a fight, but either way, despite UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta claiming CM Punk's first opponent would be "someone you know" - don't expect it. In fact, expect the opposite. Punk won't be fighting anyone you've ever heard of, unless you're the type of fan who watches every local promotion and stays up to date with just about every fight on the planet. Dana White has recently suggested he's using his new show, Looking for a Fight, to recruit an opponent for Punk - which means it'll be an unknown, up and coming fighter. Not a bad thing. It's Punk's name that sells the fight. His opponent doesn't matter as much as many people seem to think.
Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.