Paul Heyman: CM Punk is man enough to take his chances to fight in the UFC
Throughout his professional wrestling career, CM Punk would often turn to mentor Paul Heyman for advice, and even now that he’s embarked on a new career in the UFC, the two old friends still speak on almost a daily basis about a myriad of subjects.
At the top of the list is Punk’s pending debut in the UFC, which will likely happen at the close of 2015 or in early 2016. The former WWE superstar will enter the Octagon as a 37-year-old novice with a 0-0 record and no previous fight experience.
Punk has spoken at length about his lifelong desire to test himself in mixed martial arts. But after his last contract with the WWE came to an end, he knew it was now or never if he was going to make a legitimate run at a second career as a fighter.
Few people know Punk as well as Heyman does, and he says his move to the UFC wasn’t done for the money and it wasn’t done for publicity. Heyman says Punk wanted to fight because it’s something he’s thought about doing for years, and this was his chance to live out a dream.
"I don’t think money is the motivating factor in CM Punk’s life whatsoever. I think it’s the challenge to do this," Heyman said when speaking on the Steve Austin podcast recently. "This is something he’s been eyeballing since he was a kid, and I think he looks back and he probably regrets not getting into it five or six years earlier, but this was the time to pull the trigger on it."
The biggest question for Punk ahead of his UFC debut is wondering whether he really knows what he’s getting himself into.
The UFC represents the best mixed martial artists in the world and rarely serves as a breeding ground for people trying to learn the sport. Even if Punk faces another relative newcomer, chances are the fighter standing across the Octagon from him will have more experience and time spent in the gym than the former pro wrestler, who just started training in MMA full time this past January.
No matter what happens in his first fight, Heyman believes Punk is truly prepared for the consequences — good or bad — because that’s what he signed up for when he decided to become a professional fighter.
This isn’t the WWE, where the outcomes are scripted, and Punk knows he might walk in and win or he might get carried out if he loses.
"I think he firmly believes he is either going to step in that Octagon and shock everybody by beating somebody’s ass, or he’s going to get punched in the face and knocked out or tapped out and beat up, and I think that he’s very accepting of the fact that that’s a possibility," Heyman said.
"He’s man enough to walk in there and take his chances."