After losing his second professional mixed martial arts fight, Phil Brooks’ time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship has likely come to an end.
It was an unlikely odyssey for Brooks, better known as CM Punk, in the first place, who like former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, came from the world of WWE and professional wrestling.
However, unlike Lesnar, Punk fought at welterweight, not as a hulking 265-pound athletic and genetic freak. The former WWE superstar just didn’t share Lesnar’s physical tools and talent, which made Punk’s transition to MMA all the more difficult.
That lack of physical talent wasn’t lost on UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, who called Punk’s last fight at UFC 225. Punk was soundly beaten in front of his native Chicago crowd by Mike Jackson, whose own performance drew the ire of UFC President Dana White. The end result was an ugly opening to an otherwise decent pay-per-view, and Rogan wasn’t afraid to be real about Punk’s MMA skills and ability (or lack thereof) on a post-fight episode of his Joe Rogan Experience podcast:
“He’s a very nice guy and he’s a hard worker, but he does not have athletic talent. He’s missing... he’s a showman, and when he was in the WWE, he was allowed to say, ‘I am the fu*king man!’ And throw his hand up in the air and say he is the man, and they had it scripted so that he was the man.”
“He doesn’t have the ability to move his body right,” he added. “There’s a lot of guys you can take out there, track and field guys, football players and you can get them to fight better than him in a couple of weeks easily because they are athletes.” “They’d understand how to shift their weight and throw a punch. He doesn’t have any talent, is all it is, he doesn’t have physical talent for whatever reason. Whether it’s his approach, his intensity. It’s not his coaching, it’s Duke-fu*king-Roufus.”
Punk’s first MMA fight was on the main card of UFC 203 back in 2016, where he was submitted in the first round in an uncompetitive bout against Mickey Gall. The former WWE star told the press that he intended on fighting again despite the results of his first professional fight, and went back to the drawing board. In those two years since his first and second contest, there hasn’t been any noticeable progress in his game. Punk winged looping punches, only to get countered nearly every time he tried to close the distance against Jackson.
Rogan also agreed with White, who excoriated Jackson at the post-fight press conference for his lackadaisical and uninterested demeanor throughout the 15-minute beat down. White said “The Truth” could have easily finished Punk multiple times throughout the fight, but looked like he was holding back for whatever reason:
“If Mike Jackson went out there and just starched CM Punk with a right hand and a left hook combination and that was the end of it, they would say ‘well, CM Punk, you gave it a shot, that’s it, it’s over. Mike, who’d you like to fight next?’ Now, it’s like ‘No, you’re not even fighting in the UFC anymore because you should’ve stopped him.’
“He tickled him. He fu*king tickled him during the fight.”
Jackson says he didn’t want to give the former professional wrestler brain damage, which explains the prolonged beating. The official judges’ scorecards were 30-26 all around, which translates to a very uncompetitive fight.
If this was Punk’s last fight, which it likely will be, his effort was admirable and profitable, at least the first time around. Early numbers for the PPV buy-rate of UFC 225 showed an abysmal amount of less than 150,000, so maybe the Punk circus has finally lost its appeal.
Nowadays, the UFC seems to be looking to draw more from the NFL’s talent pool than the WWE…