MANILA, Philippines – Even though CM Punk’s much-awaited mixed martial arts (MMA) debut was pushed back due to an injury, up-and-coming fighter Stephen Thompson has his fingers crossed that the former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar will eventually make his first appearance as 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.
Most cageside observers doubted whether CM Punk would ever compete inside the Octagon following his latest injury pullout, but Thompson hopes that the ex-WWE performer will follow through on his plan.
“Hopefully, he will be fighting here pretty soon. I see him at a lot of shows,” Thompson told Rappler. “I heard he has been training hard. I want to see some fireworks pretty soon from CM Punk.”
CM Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, inked a multi-fight contract with the UFC in December 2014 after his surprising exodus from WWE in January of the same year.
Many criticized the UFC for signing CM Punk, but Thompson sees it more as a business move on the part of the world’s premier MMA organization.
“Being from professional wrestling, [CM Punk] definitely brings in a different look and another set of fans to the sport. I believe it’s huge for the UFC,” said Thompson, who is rated No. 3 in the official UFC welterweight rankings.
The 37-year-old native of Chicago, Illinois finally had a cage counterpart in unknown welterweight stalwart Mickey Gall, who submitted Mike Jackson with a 45-second rear-naked choke this month.
CM Punk 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 promotion had been targeting the match-up for UFC 199 in June.
Due to the back injury, CM Punk is expected to be sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks before being cleared by doctors to train again. – Rappler.com
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