Phil Brooks, known to millions of fans as CM Punk, will make his octagon debut at UFC 203 this Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Punk will fight Mickey Gall in a welterweight bout.
“It’s something I always wanted to do,” Punk said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show, referring to MMA. “I can’t really put a date on it. I probably got serious in my head around 2009 when I wanted to leave my former job. In 2011, I was going to do the transition and then I wound up resigning at the last minute. So it just took longer than I wanted, but here I am.”
This isn’t some mid-life or mid-career crisis for Punk, either.
“Here’s how I’ll explain it to you,” he said. “I had a fork in the road in 2011. Let’s say I took the left turn. I doubled back to the fork in the road and now I’m taking the right. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing that in life. . . . I’ve never viewed myself as any sort of celebrity. To me, I’m still a 15-year-old punk-rock kid from Chicago. That’s how I describe myself. I don’t look at myself as a celebrity. People are this invested in my fight, whether they love me or they hate me, it still kind of confuses me. But I just sift through all of it and just take the good out of it. I’m just doing my own thing.”
Punk didn’t say whether he prefers to fight on the ground or standing up, but he’s prepared for both.
“I think I’m going to be best at where the fight goes,” he said. “They all start on their feet, and to me, they all end on the mat. I’m ready to take it to where it needs to go.”
Gall, 24, is a young and inexperienced fighter. He is 2-0 in his professional career.
“I know that he’s got a 2-0 record,” Punk said. “I know that his two fights haven’t gone very long. But I don’t think he’s fought somebody that’s really taken the fight to him.”
But is Gall good? Or is he, in the words of Gottlieb, a tomato can?
“Am I a tomato can or am I really good?” Punk countered. “I don’t know. We’re going to have to find out on Saturday.”