When Phil “CM Punk” Brooks recently announced he would prepare for his UFC debut with Roufusport, more than a few eyebrows were raised, since it’s also the home gym for Ben Askren.
After all, Askren was quick to blast the UFC’s signing of Brooks, since its the same promotion which passed on offering him a deal. In 2013, UFC boss man Dana White argued that Askren–who is a former Bellator champ, and the reigning ONE FC champ–hadn’t proven he was good enough for the promotion quite yet. CM Punk, meanwhile, hasn’t fought in one MMA bout…
Well, the debate aside as to whether CM Punk should be in the UFC or not, Askren recently told MMA Junkie.com that he doesn’t have any issue with Brooks himself.
“What’s between me and the UFC is totally separate from ‘CM Punk,’” Askren says. “He’s just a guy who had a great opportunity presented to him, and he took it. What type of person wouldn’t take the opportunity if he wanted it just because it might make other people feel bad?”
So, now it remains to be seen how Brooks’ training unfolds at Roufusport, which is also home to UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, Sergio Pettis, Dustin Ortiz and Erik Koch among others. The gym’s head coach Duke Roufus was also approached for the aforementioned story, and while discussing his plans for CM Punk he stated:
“We’re friends first, and we wouldn’t be friends if he couldn’t take an honest answer,” Roufus says. “But I’m not going to be putting him in with my team just yet. I’m going to do what I’ve done with some of my athletes in the past, which is build him from the ground up. His first sparring session will be with me, and I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 4, so I have incredible control. I can score on him but not hurt him. I can teach him, which is the first stage.”
It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how Brooks’ evolution as fighter unfolds. The former WWE star expects to make his UFC debut in late 2015. Brooks hasn’t decided yet what weight he will compete at, but the 36 year-old has said middleweight is most likely.
Speaking of Anthony Pettis, the highlight reel striker recently posted a pic of himself, Askren, Tyron Woodley, Din Thomas and Punk on Instagram.