Kenny Herzog of Rolling Stone is featuring a lengthy interview with former WWE star CM Punk (Phil Brooks) discussing the announcement of his signing with UFC this weekend.
Punk confirms in the interview that his settlement with WWE a few months ago allowed the signing to take place. Had it not, he would have been waiting until the summer of 2015.
If critics aren’t being realistic about his UFC debut in 2015:
“I definitely do think it’s a win-win for myself and the UFC, but I will be quick to point out that, normally, the first person to tell you that something’s impossible has already failed at it. And this is not me passing judgment on anyone else. It’s just my perception of things. There’s a very real possibility that whatever anybody’s definition of failure is, that might happen to me, but I’m confident it won’t, because I believe in myself and I believe in my ability. All this is me; it’s my life. I’ve seen some people get really bent out of shape about it, and that I can’t really spend time trying to grasp. If you’re really that upset about it, you’re going to see me get punched in the face, so it’s a win-win for you too.”
Why other MMA fighters shouldn’t be mad at him:
“For sure. I’m not gonna sit here and make bold predictions about first-round head kicks and beating ranked opponents. This is about me and my journey to get there. I understand other peoples’ point of view about, “Oh, there’s great fighters out there like Ben Askren.” My only point on that is, “Don’t be mad at me, Ben. Be mad at [UFC President] Dana [White].” I’m sure Ben Askren’s a nice guy. If he’s mad at me, I understand. But if the Blackhawks came to me before Dana and Lorenzo did and were like, “We’re gonna put you in goal,” I’d be like, “That’s great. I played a little hockey when I was a kid.” You know what I mean? I’m not gonna deny myself some opportunity because somebody on Twitter thinks I shouldn’t have it.”
His decision to talk and sign with UFC:
“I’m not sure I did know. If I can maybe throw out an example of how things are different – the lack of communication from the WWE office was astounding. They said they suspended me and never contacted me. They were in my town, about an eight-minute drive from my house multiple times, and didn’t feel like it was necessary to come try and talk to me, so I assumed that they didn’t want to talk to me. Then, you’ve got Dana and [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta wanting to talk to me, and they get on a jet and fly to Chicago to talk to me. So that pretty much told me exactly how Dana and Lorenzo do business. I’m sure there are other people out there who have different situations with them, but they’re playing straight with me. And being backstage [at last Saturday’s UFC 181] and introducing everybody to my wife, it was such a great experience. And I’m sure part of that is the name value and who I am, but everyone seemed to be happy, which is different and odd for me.”
Why he feels pro wrestling is more risky:
“I definitely think pro wrestling’s more risky. The pro wrestler’s mentality, and it’s ingrained in them from the start, is you have to work hurt. And I know guys in MMA are banged up and will “work hurt,” but if you tear your knee up, you’re gonna get surgery. Pro wrestlers will not, because they’re afraid about losing their jobs. They will work through torn ligaments and everything, and I’ve done it and it’s not smart, and it’s not the healthiest work environment. If I step in the Octagon and I get knocked out, I don’t gotta keep fighting. If that was pro wrestling, and I slipped and I fell and something happened to me and I got knocked out and I woke up three seconds later, guess what: I gotta finish this match. That’s just the pro wrestler’s mentality, and I’m glad I don’t really have to be subjected to that anymore. Imagine if an MMA fighter fought four-to-five nights a week. That’s essentially what I was doing in pro wrestling. Obviously, there’s big differences between a real fight and a fake one, but it’s a lot more wear and tear on your body, the travel is brutal. So I won’t be doing that.”
What he would define as his biggest weakest point right now:
“Oh, striking, absolutely. I’m a raw nerve. I’m exposed to the world here, and I don’t think people realize I’m used to this. Nothing scares me. Nothing embarrasses me, so I’m gonna say it right now: Striking’s my weakest point, and I’m excited to get that up to the level where I feel it needs to be. But who’s to say what it takes to step into the Octagon? I think I need to up my game on everything, and that’s the plan, but I think striking’s going to be the most fun for me.”
You can check out the full interview at the link below.