Following the news that the UFC has signed Phil “CM Punk” Brooks to a contract, critics immediately began questioning his fighting credentials, and the pro-wrestling star isn’t attempting to hype them up either.
Brooks has relayed in the past that he did some training in Kempo Karata back in the day, and in more recent years, he’s been learning BJJ under Rener Gracie (who knows a few things about the martial art…). Well, in recent interview with FOX Sports Live, here is some of what Punk had to say about his jiu-jitsu credentials (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“I’ve never even gotten my blue belt,” he said. “I’ve trained so infrequently with Rener (Gracie), it’s (belt promotion) just nothing that’s come about. I know that draws a giant target on my face. I tell people I’m a white belt for life. I’ll always be learning.”
Now sure, there are a lot of fighters who don’t have a belt because they don’t do enough gi training, etc, but the fact he’s trained so “infrequently” definitely won’t sit well with critics. “King Mo” Lawal, it should be noted, recently praised Punk’s skills on the mat and said he looks like a “brown belt.”
There’s no question that Brooks is going to have to put a ton of work in as he prepares for his UFC debut, which is expected to take place sometime, mid next year. Several fighters have reached out the former WWE star on Twitter, but Brooks apparently hasn’t decided yet where he’s going to train.
“As far as where, I think surrounding myself with the right people is a very key ingredient. I need to find a place where I’m comfortable to an extent, but also taken out of my comfort zone, if that makes any sense to you. I don’t want to step into a facility where there’s people who have negative feelings toward me and begrudge that I’ve gotten this opportunity. And like I said, I completely understand their point of view. But I don’t need to be training with someone who is actively trying to hurt me.”
“Right now I’m working out twice a day doing technique things,” he said. “Right now, I’m not looking to spar with killers”
Yes. The last thing Punk needs is a camp where either a bunch of established fighters or rising prospects, decide they want to light him up and then some during sparring sessions. That said, Brooks doesn’t have a lot of time to get prepared for his debut, even if it comes against an opponent with very little experience as Dana White relayed.
It’s important to consider that no commission is going to sign off on Punk taking on an established vet (like Cathal Pendred as the latter recently hinted), since he’s 0-0.