CM Punk announced at UFC 181 from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night that he has signed a multi-fight deal with UFC and will debut in 2015.
“My professional wrestling days are over, it’s awesome to be here,” Punk told Joe Rogan. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I have a background in kempo (karate) and I’ve been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu for a long time.”
Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, trains jiu-jitsu under Rener and Ryron Gracie. He'll start at either middleweight or welterweight, depending on how his "test cut" goes while searching for a fight camp to call home.
“I felt like it was now or never,” Punk said. “I have a limited window most fighters don’t have. I’m either here to win or get my a—kicked …This is my new career. I’m going to go full steam ahead, all systems go.”
White, while speaking with Jim Rome, said they would bring Punk in like any regular fighter and he would fight a guy with a similar record. They will not be throwing him to the wolves, like they did with Brock Lesnar. Brock started fighting all of the top heavyweights in the world because of his wrestling background.
The deal comes at a time when CM Punk has never been hotter. Following his WWE departure in January 2014, Punk had remained relatively low-key. However, just last week he "told all" about his WWE exit in an exclusive interview with his good friend Colt Cabana. He followed-up in part two this week.
The following video message is from CM Punk:
We ran a story earlier this week, where TMZ cameras caught up with UFC President Dana White and asked him about Punk. Regarding Punk, White said Punk is a great dude and he likes him very much. He smiled and said he wouldn’t mind having a conversation with him but he doesn’t know if he can even fight. He was clearly kayfabing to keep the announcement a surprise, as we hadn't heard this was in the pipeline.
White posted the following on social media:
Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)
Richard Reacts: Business just picked up folks, CM Punk isn't going away anytime soon. I hope he does very well in UFC and we'll be covering all his fights, just like we did with Brock Lesnar. In fact, we may have to go ahead and create a UFC category for all of the posts. I said earlier this week it was time to move on but Punk's new deal begs to differ. This is awesome.