WWE Diva AJ Lee took to Twitter late Saturday night to comment on her husband’s new career as a UFC fighter.
I am the proudest wife in the world. pic.twitter.com/N02RJzumQK
— A.J. (@WWEAJLee) December 7, 2014
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones took a more comical approach to Punk’s signing.
BREAKING NEWS: I’m headlining wrestlemania 31.
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) December 7, 2014
Jones holds a professional record of 20-1, with his only loss coming via a controversial disqualification in 2009. He has successfully defended the Light Heavyweight title seven times against top names such as Rampage Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Alexander Gustafsson, and is arguably – with the exception of maybe Anderson Silva – the greatest fighter on the planet. Unfortunately, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that you’ll ever see Jones in the same ring with the former WWE Champion.
CM Punk mentioned that wrestling in the Light Heavyweight division was out of the question. His last known WWE billed weight would put him in that class, but that was likely a false weight, and he will be toning up for his MMA debut. If he manages to find success in the sport, and comes out of his first two or three fights with strong, decisive wins, some of the possible top names in the realm of possibility for big money matches – and remember, this is just “fantasy booking” – would be Michael Bisping, Chris Weidman, Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit.
As we’ve reported, UFC President Dana White has specified that there are no plans to book Punk like the company did Brock Lesnar in 2008. Lesnar had a background in amateur wrestling and was immediately thrown up against Frank Mir, Randy Couture and Shane Carwin within his first two years as an MMA fighter. While Punk has been training and has a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, his first fight will be against another newcomer to the sport.
The major difference between Punk and the dozens of rookies that come and go through UFC is that the company will likely promote his fights more than even some of their own established talent. Much like Lesnar, who is one of the biggest proven draws in MMA history, Punk is a major name crossing over into the business who can potentially sell a lot of pay-per-views. Whereas most new talent prove themselves on a Fight Night card or a pre-show, it’s unlikely UFC would waste CM Punk’s initial drawing power.
A brand new fighter getting a shot on a main pay-per-view match card is almost unheard of, again with the exception being Brock Lesnar, who had one fight with the Dynamite USA promotion before making his debut at UFC 81.
There’s likely to be a lot of animosity, both from MMA fans and lower card fighters that perceive Punk as “taking a spot” that he wouldn’t have if not for his celebrity status. It’s obviously hard to dispute that claim, as thousands of fighters try and fail just to get a shot at a UFC pre-show. But Punk is a globally recognized name who has been on major ratings television for over six years. Even if he comes in, gets destroyed in two or three fights, and the company releases him, they might as well burn millions of dollars if they keep him off pay-per-view just to preserve some sense of a fighter “earning” his spot.
CM Punk will make his his UFC debut in 2015. The next major announcement to look out for is which training camp he ends up with, which should be hitting the news in the next few weeks.