It has been months since the UFC announced the signing of former WWE champion CM Punk. Punk’s MMA prospects is a polarizing subject yet one former colleague has some interesting thoughts on Punk in the octagon.
Heyman may be a big Punk fan but he is also a realist. Heyman is quick to shut down any comparisons made between Punk and his current “client” Brock Lesnar.
“Phil Brooks is not in his mid-thirties, he’s cruising rapidly into his late-thirties. He doesn’t have a documentable athletic background. Do I know that he has been in the gym with the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world for several years? Sure I do, but he’s never been in a competition. I don’t know of any sports he played in high school. He went straight from high school into the wrestling world so there’s no college background there. Brock Lesnar was an NCAA Division I champion, who was a champion in junior college, he was a bad ass wrestling in high school and he was wrestling since he was five years old. He was a competitive athlete so that’s a different jump to make,” Heyman explained.
At the same time Heyman sees that as a big motivator for his friend.
“Phillip Brooks does not have that background. It makes it all the more improbable, which is exactly why he’s so driven to do it. Because he looks in the mirror and he sees not only a rebel and an uncompromising spokesman for the beliefs that are near and dear to him, but he sees someone that will defy conventional wisdom and pull off miracles if that’s what it takes because he has one shot in life and he wants to do something quite special with it.”
Heyman makes a brilliant observation in regards to Punk’s biggest criticism, his lack of experience.
Something that I absolutely respect about Heyman in this interview is that he is not willing to subject his credibility to hyperbole. I don’t understand how some of Punk’s former colleagues such as Jim Ross for example can say that he thinks Punk will do great, when he has nothing to base it on. Heyman offers a lot of encouragement and certainly makes a case for Punk, while never subjecting his credibility by outright making a prediction that is based purely on a “gut feeling.”
Check out the rest of the interview where Heyman offers his thoughts on Punk’s chances of returning to the WWE, Hulk Hogan’s future, and more on Punk in the UFC on the SI Media podcast.