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Fighters and Trainers Answer: Is Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks Ready for His UFC Debut?

Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks makes his professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debut on Saturday, at UFC 203. Now almost 21 months removed from this surprising career change, and with almost as much time spent training, finding an answer to the question; “Is Phil Brooks ready for his debut?” is readily available.

After his signing with the UFC, Brooks quickly chose to do his training with Duke Roufus, at his well-respected Roufusport gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the home of MMA stars like former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and ONE Championship welterweight kingpin Ben Askren.

Recently, cable network Fox Sports 1 debuted a four-part series—The Evolution of Punk—chronicling his journey towards fight readiness. With that footage available, along with the knowledge we have of Brooks before training, we felt it was a good time to get thoughts from personalities within the industry. And see if he has had enough time to prepare for his bout on Sep. 10.

MMASucka: CM Punk has been training towards an MMA debut for the better part of 19 months (he missed two months due to shoulder surgery). In your opinion, is that enough time for his coaches at Roufusport to get him prepared for UFC-level competition? It should be noted Punk has had zero amateur bouts and has no notable ranking in a base martial art.

Colin Oyama (Owner and head coach at Team Oyama gym. He has over 18 years of MMA coaching experience): There is an entertainment value that the UFC wants, so that re-defines what “UFC-level” competition means. For example, in pro boxing any promoter can go out and find a “pro” to fight against any level of entry opponent. The UFC can probably do the same. But would he stand a chance against an average level fighter that’s competitive in the UFC circuit? I don’t believe so, not in 19 months.

Anthony “2 Ton Tony” Ciampa (3-0 Amateur heavyweight, fighting out of American Top Team): Honestly speaking, even though he was a physical-performance athlete, I think that it takes more than 19 months to be ready for a shot at the big leagues.

Leonardo “Danger” Perez (Featherweight fighter based out of Bonebreaker Gym, with 14 amateur/professional bouts): I don’t think he has had enough time to be competitive in the UFC. He just hasn’t had the experience in the cage. Training and fighting are two different things and he is jumping straight into the big leagues.

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