On Dec. 6, 2014, former WWE superstar CM Punk made the announcement that he was leaving professional wrestling to pursue a career in mixed martial arts after signing a multi-fight contract with the UFC.
Rumors began circulating almost immediately on when Punk would make his UFC debut after choosing to train alongside coach Duke Roufus and his team in Milwaukee to get him ready for his first real fight.
Fast forward one year later and Punk still hasn’t fought and as of now there’s still no exact word on when he might actually debut.
On the year-end edition of "UFC Tonight" light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and Kenny Florian discussed Punk and how the momentum he carried with him when he first made the announcement might have dissipated after not fighting at all in 2015.
"I’m excited to see Phil make his debut. But I do think as time is passing, it starts to lose some of the intrigue," Cormier said. "I think the iron was hot when he first walked out on the WWE and that’s when I think he would have made the biggest impression on the MMA community. Because WWE fans would have followed him to MMA."
Florian’s concerns transition from the hype surrounding Punk after deciding to sign with the UFC to a bigger question about his training and preparation to actually fight inside the Octagon.
It’s well known that Punk never had any formal training in MMA before signing with the UFC and his only real martial arts experience was dabbling in Brazilian jiu-jitsu when he wasn’t in the ring performing for the WWE and other wrestling promotions for most of his adult life.
"Let’s talk about some of that time passing, this is what really concerns me because they said he was going to fight in 2015, he needs some time to train. Well, it hasn’t happened. I know he’s dealt with some other injuries and things like that but the fact that they say he’s not ready concerns me," Florian said.
"It shows you don’t just jump into this sport and say you’re going to compete. It takes time and there’s a process and there’s a reason why they’re telling him to take his time. I think his training isn’t coming along as fast as they thought and it’s unfortunate."
Florian does believe that Punk should be excited to finally make his debut, which looks more and more likely to happen at some point in the summer or latter half of 2016 at this point.
UFC president Dana White has been scouting for Punk’s first opponent as he confirmed just recently but when the fight will take place remains a mystery.
"I think CM Punk should really be excited," Florian said. "He finally gets to compete and fulfill his dream of fighting in the UFC."