News broke recently that CM Punk left the WWE allegedly due to, one time MMA competitor, Dave Bautista coming in after four years and winning the Royal Rumble and thus getting the main event slot at the WWE’s biggest PPV event Wrestlemania.
Punk, 35, is a BJJ practitioner, trained in taekwondo and is an avid MMA fan who is good friends with Chael Sonnen. He has expressed an interest in considering a fight saying last year to Ariel Helwani, “yes (he would like a fight). I don’t think that’s going to surprise anybody, and those that think that I don’t belong in an octagon, I welcome that. I welcome anybody who tells me I can’t do anything. It makes me want to do it more.”
One of the reasons back then why he wouldn’t pursue it was because he was contracted to the WWE, well I guess that barrier has been removed.
Last week Ariel Helwani caught up with Punk once again in what is their now yearly interview straight from the stars home in Chicago. In that interview Punk seemed very aware and under no illusions about his age, experience and about the criticism that would ensue should he make the leap. However he did seem very savvy about the marketability of him fighting.
It is unlikely that he would fight in the UFC but there are plausible elements that could be argued for him to join the promotion. The UFC are after loosing their two biggest draws in GSP and Anderson Silva in quick succession so a high profile signee like CM Punk could reinvigorate the brand much like Brock Lesnar and, to a lesser degree, Kimbo Slice did.
But there could be a more likely scenario that one of the smaller promotions makes an offer for Punk. Bellator could see him as an ideal candidate for a future PPV attempt etc. All the foundations and relationships are there for a transition into MMA for the ‘Straight Edge Superstar’.