CM Punk Speaks: The Former WWE Champ on Signing With UFC

December 10, 2014 - WWE

By Kenny Herzog |
Dec 10, 2014

Months before Phil Brooks – a male famous to wrestling fans everywhere as luminary CM Punk – announced he’d signed with Ultimate Fighting Championship, a former World Wrestling Entertainment champion’s subsequent pierce was a mystery.


Steve Austin

He was final seen behaving for WWE on Jan 26 during a Royal Rumble, and until vocalization out in agitator conform on crony Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast final month, Brooks had fans speculating about his status, and mud sheets digging for clues as to possibly his disappearance was all a “work.” Or, if it were legit, a open wanted answers as to given he left, possibly he’d ever lapse and – possibly approach – what comes next.

Well, now we know. The 36-year-old Chicagoan, who has no in-ring churned martial humanities experience, will step inside a Octagon some time subsequent year, where he’ll approaching punch as a middleweight. In a interim, he’ll continue his training in Jiu-Jitsu (his coach is martial-arts idol Rener Gracie) and other MMA techniques, answer critics and try to evasion social-media scuttlebutt, all while enjoying whatever giveaway time he can find with new bride AJ Lee, who stays a high-profile pull for WWE’s Divas division.

Three days private from his blockbuster deal, Brooks emerged from his mainstream-media trance and spoke with Rolling Stone – while doing Christmas-accessory selling during a Chicago Walgreens – about communication breakdowns, building his code and always essay to be a best in a world.

Have we been astounded by a operation of reactions to your UFC signing?
I can’t contend it’s left as we expected. A few notable, large names in UFC have been intensely supportive. Whether they have distant motives is nonetheless to be seen. we tend to balance out a negativity, and there’s been a lot of certain stuff. we consider a lot of people are curious, and we consider a lot of people know my mindset.

Are critics not being picturesque about what a win-win this is for we and a company?
I unequivocally do consider it’s a win-win for myself and a UFC, though we will be discerning to indicate out that, normally, a initial chairman to tell we that something’s unfit has already unsuccessful during it. And this is not me flitting visualisation on anyone else. It’s usually my notice of things. There’s a unequivocally genuine probability that whatever anybody’s clarification of disaster is, that competence occur to me, though I’m assured it won’t, given we trust in myself and we trust in my ability. All this is me; it’s my life. I’ve seen some people get unequivocally focussed out of figure about it, and that we can’t unequivocally spend time perplexing to grasp. If you’re unequivocally that dissapoint about it, you’re going to see me get punched in a face, so it’s a win-win for we too.

To that end, should everybody –  yourself enclosed – haven visualisation until we step inside a Octagon?
For sure. I’m not gonna lay here and make confidant predictions about first-round conduct kicks and assault ranked opponents. This is about me and my tour to get there. we know other peoples’ indicate of perspective about, “Oh, there’s good fighters out there like Ben Askren.” My usually indicate on that is, “Don’t be insane during me, Ben. Be insane during [UFC President] Dana [White].” I’m certain Ben Askren’s a good guy. If he’s insane during me, we understand. But if a Blackhawks came to me before Dana and Lorenzo did and were like, “We’re gonna put we in goal,” I’d be like, “That’s great. we played a small hockey when we was a kid.” You know what we mean? I’m not gonna repudiate myself some eventuality given somebody on Twitter thinks we shouldn’t have it.

What assured we UFC would be some-more certain for we than a WWE?
I’m not certain we did know. If we can maybe chuck out an instance of how things are opposite – a miss of communication from a WWE bureau was astounding. They pronounced they dangling me and never contacted me. They were in my town, about an eight-minute expostulate from my residence mixed times, and didn’t feel like it was required to come try and pronounce to me, so we insincere that they didn’t wish to pronounce to me.

Then, you’ve got Dana and [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta wanting to pronounce to me, and they get on a jet and fly to Chicago to pronounce to me. So that flattering many told me accurately how Dana and Lorenzo do business. I’m certain there are other people out there who have opposite situations with them, though they’re personification true with me. And being backstage [at final Saturday’s UFC 181] and introducing everybody to my wife, it was such a good experience. And I’m certain partial of that is a name value and who we am, though everybody seemed to be happy, that is opposite and peculiar for me.

And usually to clarify, your allotment with WWE excluded we of your no-compete proviso with UFC?
Yes. Otherwise I’d be watchful compartment a summer.

Once we do step inside a Octagon in 2015, will there be any fear about removing hurt?
No. I’ve been removing kick adult for many of my adult life. Pro wrestling is a lot opposite than MMA. Most recently, we had a review with King Mo, and he’s been training to be a pro wrestler, and he was like, “Pro wrestling is harder.” Now, that doesn’t make my preference to do MMA like, “Oh, this is easy,” given we know it’s not. we usually know I’ve put in work in pro wrestling, and a work ethic we learn from doing that will interpret for me. It will put me in a good position.

Is there indeed a aloft risk of damage amid a choreographed assault of wrestling than in a specialized fighting of MMA?
I unequivocally consider pro wrestling’s some-more risky. The pro wrestler’s mentality, and it’s inbred in them from a start, is we have to work hurt. And we know guys in MMA are banged adult and will “work hurt,” though if we rip your knee up, you’re gonna get surgery. Pro wrestlers will not, given they’re fearful about losing their jobs. They will work by ripped ligaments and everything, and I’ve finished it and it’s not smart, and it’s not a healthiest work environment.

If we step in a Octagon and we get knocked out, we don’t gotta keep fighting. If that was pro wrestling, and we slipped and we fell and something happened to me and we got knocked out and we woke adult 3 seconds later, theory what: we gotta finish this match. That’s usually a pro wrestler’s mentality, and I’m blissful we don’t unequivocally have to be subjected to that anymore. Imagine if an MMA warrior fought four-to-five nights a week. That’s radically what we was doing in pro wrestling. Obviously, there’s large differences between a genuine quarrel and a feign one, though it’s a lot some-more wear and rip on your body, a transport is brutal. So we won’t be doing that.

How did we remonstrate your mother AJ to be on board, given a earthy risks?
After we spoke with Dana and Lorenzo, that’s when it got critical and that’s when we brought it to her attention. Trust me, whatever nerves I’m gonna have stepping into a Octagon will dark in comparison to a nerves we had when we had to pierce this adult to my wife. we was overtly terrified. we was like, “She’s gonna tighten it down, and I’m gonna have to figure out a approach to well-spoken it over so we can do this, given we don’t take no for an answer, she doesn’t take no for an answer, and this is something we unequivocally wanna do.” Right off a bat she famous that. She’s been around me prolonged adequate to know that, ever given a initial day we met her, this is something we talked about doing, and she’s not somebody that’s gonna step in front of her father perplexing to accomplish something that he dreamed about.

Any suspicion where you’ll be training?
I can’t answer that right now. That’s one of a things I’ve been many impressed about, is a volume of people who’ve approached me secretly or publicly and said, “Hey, sight here.” we don’t know, ’cause a best gyms we have to transport to, and I’m not gonna transport behind and forth. we need a home base. I’m gonna have to be somewhere where a gym’s tighten so we can sight twice a day. I’m arrange of in a precipitate to make that decision, though I’m also afforded a small bit of time, so we’re gonna have to see what happens.

What privately is your training going to entail?
Any series of things. Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, boxing, everything. And on tip of that, strength and conditioning.

Are there any techniques you’re many looking brazen to improving?
Oh, striking, absolutely. I’m a tender nerve. I’m unprotected to a universe here, and we don’t consider people comprehend I’m used to this. Nothing scares me. Nothing embarrasses me, so I’m gonna contend it right now: Striking’s my weakest point, and I’m vehement to get that adult to a turn where we feel it needs to be. But who’s to contend what it takes to step into a Octagon? we consider we need to adult my diversion on everything, and that’s a plan, though we consider striking’s going to be a many fun for me.

On a flipside, what ability of yours competence warn people?
I would unequivocally warn people with my belligerent game. I’m unequivocally gentle on a ground. we consider it’d be good if, once we spike down a quarrel date and an opponent, we consider it’s gonna be smashing if he underestimates me.

Is this all eventually partial of a bigger devise to build a business of Phil Brooks?
Sure, though that’s not a solitary purpose of doing it. Obviously, given it’s such a high-profile pierce and all eyes are on me right now, yeah, given wouldn’t we systematise that as a building of a code or a business? That’s what it is. we could simply usually not be doing interviews and revelation people, “No, I’m gonna hole adult here and train, and you’re never gonna see me until we fight,” though that’s unrealistic. we consider somewhere along a lines after we left from WWE, people got this suspicion that we hatred being famous. And if anybody is famous, they know that celebrity isn’t unequivocally a thing. Fame is an apparition. Fame is a side outcome of success. we did not arise adult one day and say, “I wanna be famous.” we did not arise adult and say, “I wanna be a UFC fighter.” we woke adult and said, “I wish to be successful during something we wish to do. we wish to fight.”

You’ve also said we don’t wish your work to conclude your life, so what do we wish defines your life?
I’m somebody who constantly wants to plea himself, develop and grow. Because if we don’t, we fade. You turn stagnant. I’m somebody who tries to sojourn certain and looks brazen to environment goals and reaching them. But that’s easier pronounced than done. When it’s all pronounced and done, my actions will pronounce for me to assistance conclude me.

And when it’s all pronounced and done, there’s no partial of we that pines for that WrestleMania main eventuality one day?
No, positively not.

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