CM Punk Has Started Another Training Camp As UFC Opponent Rumors Swirl

CM Punk’s return to the Octagon may be sooner rather than later. The former WWE superstar’s head trainer Duke Roufus just posted a photo of the two hard at work in the gym, with the caption “Back in #PunkCamp.”

“With my man CM Punk working hard & getting better every day,” Roufus continued. “Working on his next fight.”

We haven’t seen Punk in the UFC since September of 2016, and while he’s repeatedly petitioned for another fight, it hasn’t happened yet. But while nothing is official, Duke’s wording that this is a camp is interesting. Maybe this will be another extended year long camp like he went through for his debut. But typically, these things last three to four months and lead up to a fight. So is it a sign the UFC is finally ready to give Punk another chance?

Whether they would or not has been an open question, with Dana White leaning towards ‘No’ when asked point blank. But the MMA landscape has been changing, and not in a good way for the UFC. Fans are no longer willing to buy every pay-per-view the company is putting out, and the UFC’s last two offerings bottomed out at a shocking 100,000 and 120,000 buys respectively. Meanwhile, Punk’s debut back at UFC 203 pulled in 650,000 buys for the promotion, making him one of the promotion’s biggest draws.

So a return makes dollars if not sense. Now the question is who would CM Punk face? The UFC already tried to skew things in Punk’s favor by bringing in fellow newb Mickey Gall, but Gall still wiped the floor with him in just over two minutes. While Gall has proven himself to be a prospect worth watching since then, there’s not many options lower on the UFC totem pole.

The UFC could bring in another amateur, perhaps someone closer to Punk’s age? Or they could admit this is all a bit of fun and get really creative. The Green Power Ranger (3-0 amateur, 1-0 pro record) has been calling CM Punk out for a while. Skateboarder and radio host Jason Ellis has also campaigned for the fight. And then there’s former boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi, who seems to think he has a path to Conor McGregor through Punk.

There are options. Strange options. But let’s be honest: everything is going to be a bit strange when you’re booking a WWE star on a UFC card. At this point, the company should take a page from the Japanese MMA playbook and embrace it.