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CM Punk will make UFC debut, says teammate

Nissi Icasiano
CM Punk will make UFC debut, says teammate
CM Punk's teammate Emmanuel Sanchez remains optimistic the former WWE superstar will be a UFC fighter

MANILA, Philippines – Even though CM Punk’s much-awaited mixed martial arts (MMA) debut was pushed back once again due to an injury, his teammate Emmanuel Sanchez remains optimistic that the former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar will follow through on his plan to be an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter.

A few days after securing an opponent for his promotional debut, CM Punk announced that he needed to undergo back surgery due to a herniated disc, which is a lingering ailment from his many years on the professional wrestling circuit.

Many cageside observers doubted whether CM Punk would ever compete inside the Octagon following his latest injury pullout, but Sanchez sees it the other way around. 

“Absolutely,” he said in an interview with “It’s a slight surgery that he’s got to go through.”

Sanchez, who represents Roufusport in Bellator MMA and is scheduled to lock horns with Daniel Pineda in a 3-round featherweight clash on Saturday, February 20 (Manila time), believes that CM Punk will carve his own niche in the UFC. 

“The guy is always at the gym and he’s always working hard and he’s always trying to evolve in gi class and our striking classes and our pro practices. He’s going to make it happen. He’s going to go out there and put on a damn good show,” Sanchez guaranteed. 

CM Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, trains with Sanchez at Duke Roufus’ Roufusport, home to a number of top MMA competitors such as Ben Askren and Anthony Pettis.

The 37-year-old native of Chicago, Illinois inked a multi-fight contract with the UFC in December 2014 after his surprising exodus from WWE in January of the same year.

CM Punk finally had a cage counterpart when Mickey Gall submitted Mike Jackson with a 45-second rear-naked choke this month. 

The ex-WWE performer expressed his desire to face Gall at the UFC 200 pay-per-view event in July, but company head honcho Dana White revealed that the organization had been targeting the match-up for UFC 199 in June.

CM Punk is expected to be sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks before being cleared by doctors to train again. –

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