The big question everyone had leading up to UFC 203 was wether pro wrestling superstar CM Punk (real name Phil Brooks) could hang with a UFC fighter. The answer to that question? A big fat nope. But that hasn’t ended the public’s fascination with Punk’s attempt to transition into mixed martial arts at the ripe old age of 37. The new questions people are asking: will he fight again? And if not in the UFC, where?
UFC president Dana White said Punk’s next fight probably shouldn’t be in the UFC, and he’ll probably stick to that call despite the monster pay-pew-view numbers the former WWE wrestler drew for the company. But that hasn’t dulled Phil’s desire to continue training and eventually compete again. And his coach Duke Roufus says there’s more than enough promotions out there willing to host another fight. Via Sherdog:
“He’s got some stitches (around) his eye and he had some cauliflower ear that blew up during the fight so he has to get those healed up,” he elaborated. “I know he wants to get back on the mat and keep working. I had a plethora of promoters reach out to me but I’m not his manager. People have shown great interest in working with him.
“The game is faster, stronger, more explosive in the Octagon and that’s the lesson that I think he learned the most, is to train more and work harder,” he concluded. “I think we’re going to see him do some jiu jitsu tournaments to get some more competition rounds in as well… I think he’s going to (fight again).”
These other promotions may not pay as well as the UFC, which payed Brooks $500,000 plus an undisclosed percentage of pay-per-view profits. But on the plus side, he won’t have to face another UFC caliber opponent. That means he’s much less likely to get iced in just over two minutes, which I’m sure he’d appreciate. He might even get to show off a thing or two he’s learned while training with Duke Roufus over the past two years.
The brief window where people were willing to consider CM Punk potential UFC material may be over, but there’s still more than enough interest left in seeing how he’d do against a more evenly matched fighter. Given Mickey Gall’s resume and skills, what we witnessed at UFC 203 was basically a sideshow with only one realistic outcome. What happens next will be the true determination of whether Punk has what it takes to face someone on his level and come out on top. It’s not surprising that promoters are already lining up to get a piece of that story.