Saturday, March 17, 2018

In 2014 the UFC signed Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks, whose combat sports background consisted of a green belt in karate earned as a child. In a bonkers example of ready, fire, aim, the former WWE champion only then started to learn MMA, although he had rolled for two weeks with Rener and Ryron Gracie.

Brooks began to train with the very, very best – Duke Roufus. He was by every account a game and dedicated student, remarkable for someone at his age, who had already achieved financial success. But it takes a long time to learn combat sports, and the consequences for not understanding that are real.

In 2006 Punk made his MMA debut, vs. an actual, excellent fighter, Mickey Gall, who smashed his face. However, CM Punk is not a quitter. It’s believed he will fight again, at UFC 225.

Roufus appeared recently on The Luke Thomas Show on SiriusXM Rush, and reports that Punk has gotten much better.

“200 percent,” said Roufus, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “I’m not even his coach. We were friends first before we did this. I would not do this with anyone else except for my friendship with him from before he decided to fight. He’s just one hell of a guy. He’s a celebrity but he’s different than a lot of celebrities I know. Great guy. He works his ass off. He’s very well-liked on our team and he’s improved a lot.”

“Let’s face it, Mickey Gall was a tough draw. He’s done quite well in the UFC so far. I think the UFC did the right thing. We don’t want to defame the sport or damage it by putting him in an un-legitimate fight. That being said, it’s very hard. They want him to come in and beat somebody, ya know?”

Gall entered the UFC by beating Mike Jackson handily. That is a more appropriate fight for Punk.

“We’re in the process of finishing up the bout agreement and the UFC’s gonna make the announcement soon,” said Roufus. “It’s a good match on both sides. Can’t confirm what date it is. Obviously, we’re hoping it’s Chicago, to join Sergio and a bunch of our other teammates on that card.”

“He’s worked his butt off. Very dedicated guy and I respect him a lot because he comes in and takes his lumps. I’m not saying getting beat up or anything erroneously, but he comes in, he’s tired and he’s exhausted There’s no celebrity about him. He grinds just like everyone else. That’s why he got to the top of the wrestling world and that’s why I respect him so much. I love anyone that has a great attitude and works hard. You [can’t] help but love them, win lose or draw. This is the fight game and it all comes down to effort most of the time.”

UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2 will be held on June 9, 2018, at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.