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There have been questions when (or if) former WWE superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks would ever make his UFC debut after signing with the MMA promotion 18 months ago. But CM Punk finally revealed that he will enter the cage at UFC 203 on Sept. 10 in Cleveland.
His opponent will be Mickey Gall, who earned the fight by scoring a 45-second submission victory over Mike Jackson back in February.
This will finally end the speculation regarding whether the former sports entertainer can make the transition to mixed martial arts. Unlike Brock Lesnar, who successfully took to the sport and became a heavyweight champion, Punk doesn’t have amateur wrestling credentials or freakish size and athleticism. He’s been a work in progress since joining Duke Roufus’ Roufusport MMA Academy in Milwaukee and rumors regarding Punk’s progression have been littering the web.
Injuries have slowed down his training since signing in December 2014. A shoulder injury put him on the shelf last October and just when it appeared that Punk would debut at UFC 199 or 200, a back injury and subsequent surgery derailed those plans. But now the world will get to see whether the popular pro wrestling talent is ready for the bright lights of the UFC.
“The instant I got cleared, I got on the horn and nailed everything down,” said CM Punk on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “I’m happy to have a date, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The 37-year-old will be facing Gall, who is 2-0 in professional MMA fights, and has been adamant in a number of interviews that he’ll finish CM Punk early. Both of his finishes have come in the first round via submission.
“I think there’s a lot of suspect people out there with their opinions that they are going to throw a tomato can at me,” Punk said. “But I think we’re almost [physically] identical. The experience advantage goes to him; he’s fought in the Octagon and I haven’t.”
Ultimately, Punk said that this was an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up and, win or lose, he’ll have no regrets.
“I didn’t want to wake up someday [thinking to myself that] I wish I’d have done this. I look at everything in my life as a learning experience and this is no different.”