It’s clobbering time.
The UFC has signed former professional wrestler CM Punk to a contract. The promotion announced Saturday night that it reached an agreement with Punk, 36, and that he is expected to make his mixed martial arts debut in 2015.
“The idea of being able to step in the Octagon and find out what’s inside myself, and test myself, is an opportunity that I was not able to deny myself,” Punk told UFC commentator Joe Rogan duringSaturday’s UFC 181 pay-per-view broadcast. “I don’t think I’d have been able to live with myself if I didn’t give this a shot.”
Punk recently reached a legal settlement with World Wrestling Entertainment after leaving the company in January with several months left on his contract. WWE later fired Punk in June, but due to a bizarre set of circumstances involving unpaid royalties and a staph infection that Punk developed while working for the company, the two sides chose to settle, rather than do battle in court.
It is believed that the settlement did not include a non-compete clause, something that is typically standard in WWE contracts, and would have prevented Punk from fighting for UFC for the foreseeable future.
“It is now or never for me. I have a limited window, just like all fighters do, and I fully intend to get in there,” Punk said. “I’m here to either get my ass kicked or kick somebody’s ass.”
Punk told Rogan that he will likely fight at 185 pounds, but did not rule out a move to the 170 pound welterweight division.
“He wanted to give it a shot, so we gave him an opportunity,” UFC President Dana White said in an ESPN.com piece on the signing.”It’s not like Brock Lesnar. We’re not going to throw the kitchen sink at him,” White said in the article, indicating that Punk will likely not face a top-flight fighter, likely due to his age, and lack of an elite pedigree in any mixed martial arts discipline. “I have a background in kempo and I’ve been doing Brazillian jiu-jitsu for a long time. This is my new career, 100-percent,” Punk said.
“I have nothing but respect for everyone here at the UFC, everybody who steps in the Octagon to fight. And when it’s all said and done, when I’m finished, everybody’s going to have to respect me, because I have come here to fight.”