“How good can you become in two years?”
That’s one of the first questions asked by UFC 203 headliner Alistair Overeem when prompted by Champions.co about Phil “CM Punk” Brooks’ prospects as an MMA fighter. A veteran of nearly 60 MMA fights and 14 kickboxing matches who has secured titles in Strikeforce, Dream, and K1, Overeem is perhaps the most seasoned expert on the subject of fisticuffs competing in the UFC today, and unfortunately for Brooks, he seems to think that the former WWE champion is in a bit over his head.
“Either he’s going to lose and quit, or he’s going to win, and he’s going to lose later on and quit,” continued the PRIDE star.
You need to have these show fights to boost the sport. Brock came from the WWE. I think it was great for the sport. The same for CM Punk; he’s getting all the attention. But I think it’s not going to be in his favor, because his division, that’s a very hard division. To me, he’s making a mistake. He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into.
It’s a harsh critique, certainly, and one that a fair number of MMA fighters seem to agree with. The main issue seems to be the disparity between a guy like Lesnar, who had a fairly decorated NCAA wrestling career and at least one fight under his belt before jumping into the deep waters of the UFC, and Punk, who was more or less a glorified stuntman before deciding to make the transition to the most brutal sport in the world at the ripe old age of 37. While I personally am not as perturbed by Punk’s decision as some MMA fans seem to be, it’s hard to overlook just how green he has looked in the footage we’ve seen thus far, and his decision to not even attempt a practice weight cut prior to the event seems like a questionable strategy at best.
Of course, talk is just that. There’s no real point in judging Punk for having the balls to put his money where his mouth is on the biggest stage in the world, especially before he’s actually done the damn thing.
If Punk goes out there and gets steamrolled by Gall, what exactly does that prove that we didn’t already know? That non-fighters are outmatched by seasoned fighters more often than not? And if Punk wins, so what? He’s stated before that he’s not doing this to prove anything to anyone other than himself, and it’s not as if defeating a 2-0 youngster with one of the greatest gyms in the world behind you proves that professional wrestling > MMA.
Two days, people.