CM Punk is loving his life right now.
The former WWE superstar — real name Phil Brooks — always dreamed of becoming a mixed martial artist but these days he’s just enjoying his role as a training partner to his teammates and learning everyday in his new job as a color commentator for Cage Fury Fighting Championship.
Ever since it was first announced that Punk was going to make the move from professional wrestling to mixed martial arts, the question he’s been bombarded with more than any other was when he was planning to fight.
After he had his first bout in the UFC, the questions then became when was he going to fight next?
While he’s never ruled out taking another fight, Punk is currently spending most of his days on the mats at Roufus Sport in Milwaukee, except he’s not training for an opponent or a date when he might make his return to action.
Instead, the 40-year old mixed martial arts enthusiast is trying to be the best teammate he can to the fighters around him while still soaking up knowledge everyday he gets to spend in the gym with them.
“I like being a little bit more in the background,” Punk said when speaking to MMAWeekly. “I like being a wingman for Paul Felder or anybody else who has a fight coming up. I’m like on call. I tell those guys, you need me, call me. We end up just going to the gym and swimming or running and if any of those guys are having a bad day, just call me and I’ll come in and drill with you or I’ll put on the gi and we’ll roll around.
“As long as you’re doing something, I’m happy to be the wingman. I’m happy to help out wherever I can.”
It’s a nice change of pace for Punk, who is still just as busy as ever with endeavors outside of fighting including a starring role in a new independent horror film titled ‘Girl on the Third Floor’.
When it comes to his passion for martial arts, that definitely hasn’t waned regardless of his future plans to actually compete again or not.
“I train with the fighters, I train with the civilians, I train with everybody,” Punk said. “It’s a family gym. A lot of the fighters are married and have kids and they bring their kids in and everybody is helping out while they get their rounds in. Things are constantly growing and expanding. Everybody is here to help everybody else getting better. It’s a great environment to train.”
In addition to his work on the mats in Milwaukee, Punk has also taken up a new gig as a color commentator for CFFC, a popular east coast promotion with cards that air life on UFC Fight Pass.
Punk made his debut last year and while he admits it was a nerve wracking experience the first time out, it’s one he’ll never forget.
“Honestly, it was fun,” Punk said. “I’m one of those guys once the red light is on, I’m ready to go but before that I was a nervous wreck. I was more nervous just announcing the weights and the matches and the names at the weigh-ins. It’s something I love, I love to watch it, I love to talk about it but I really think I stress myself making sure I didn’t do a disservice to the fighters.
“At the end of the day, those are the guys in the cage and I know a little bit how they feel, so I don’t want to slight them in any way. I don’t want to play favorites. I just want to tell each man or woman’s story.”
On Feb. 16, Punk will make his second appearance calling the fights at CFFC 72 where undefeated welterweight champion Sean Brady faces off with Taj Abdul Hakim in the main event. Brady is widely considered one of the top prospects in the sport and that’s exactly the kind of fighter Punk loves to talk about on the broadcast.
While he doesn’t discount calling fights for an organization like the UFC one day in the future, Punk says his favorite part of the color commentary job so far is working with today’s prospects because he knows many of them will become tomorrow’s champions.
“It’s my favorite part,” Punk said. “I’ll use an example — Paul Capaldo made his pro debut at CFFC 71 and he was somebody, I think he was the first fighter I saw. I was going out of my way to talk to everybody while also giving the fighters enough space because it is fight week and they do have to cut weight and they’re cranky. So I would just sit in the back while they were filing in doing paperwork and I’d just be hanging around and say ‘when you’ve got a minute, maybe sometime tomorrow morning you let me know, I can come to you, you’re going to play slots, I’ll come sit next to you’ whatever.
“The first kid to come in was Paul Capaldo and this kid was just all smiles. He was cutting weight and he’s like ‘I’ll talk to you right now!’ and the first thing out of his mouth was ‘I’m going to knock this guy out in the first round’ and he had this confidence, it wasn’t an arrogance, but there was something so innocent, pure and new about it. He was nervous, he had butterflies but he turned it into a positive. I’m glad I was there that got to interview him after his first professional win.”
Punk will call his second CFFC card on Feb. 16 with the show airing live via UFC Fight Pass.