Heading into his MMA debut at UFC 203 on Sept. 10 in Cleveland, former WWE Superstar CM Punk feels justified in his decision to leave the world of pro wrestling for something new.
Speaking at a UFC media day leading up to the event, Punk expressed his mindset during his final preparations for his fight against Mickey Gall (2-0). If anything, he feels positive he’s made the right move.
“I pretty much have a ‘I can’t wait until it’s over’ kind of feeling,” Punk told the media. “I want to get it over with because I’m ready. I feel ready. I’m prepared. And being here (at Roufusport) every day for five hours a day has made me feel that way.
“There’s like a relief, there’s like a calm, I’m excited, (with) a little bit of nervous energy, but it’s all positive.”
Having never fought competitive MMA before, and getting into the game at 37 years old, Punk knows people are skeptical, but he isn’t letting it bother him one bit.
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“People expect me to get knocked out,” he said. “People expect me to get startched in 30 seconds. And there’s people out there who realize that once I step into the Octagon, I’ve already won.”
Punk knows every aspect of the fight will be analyzed by pundits and fans alike, and he’s just fine with that. As long as he does what he feels he’s capable of, nothing else matters.
“When you have your first wrestling match, you’re trying to memorize everything, and you’re trying to not screw up. I feel like when I spar, it’s more loose and I’m having more fun,” said Punk. “I’ve got to worry less about things. It’s more muscle memory, and it’s more ‘did you do enough’ and I 100-percent feel I have, and I’ve still got one week of hard training to go.
“I don’t care if someone wants to make fun of my technique, how not crisp my right hand is – it’s gonna land – that’s the one punch I care about, the one that lands. Tell me I didn’t turn my wrist over soon enough, I don’t care – it landed – and that’s how I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people.”
While in pro wrestling the finishes are scripted, in MMA it’s not the case. Still, either way, Punk expects to come out victorious against Gall on Sept. 10.
“Whether it goes three rounds or three seconds, my hand will be raised; that’s what I expect,” Punk said. “I expect to show up in the best shape of my life, the happiest I’ve ever been, and happy looking in the mirror before the fight knowing (I did a) job well done.”
Having been on some of the biggest stages in the world, UFC 203 is just another show to Punk. He’s achieved all he’s wanted in one world, and now he’s ready to go out and do the same in another.
“I’m comfortable in front of the cameras, in front of the lights, in front of the people, booing or cheering, doing whatever they’re going to do,” he said. “I’ve had batteries and loaded diapers thrown at me.
“This is my story, this is about me wanting, and almost needing, to do something, just to prove to myself that I can. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”