Dana White says he expects CM Punk’s debut to come at UFC 199 in June

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

C.M. Punk

There’s an updated timetable for CM Punk’s UFC debut, with UFC President Dana White saying on Friday he expects the former pro wrestling star to fight this June.

“The CM Punk fight is probably going to be in June,” White said in an appearance on Boston’s Toucher & Rich show (via MMAFighting.com). “UFC 199 is what I’m thinking.”

Punk, real name Phil Brooks, signed with the UFC in December of 2014 after announcing his departure from the WWE, and has been training with Duke Roufus’ Roufusport camp in Milwaukee, Wis., to prepare for his first ever MMA bout. He’s expected to meet Mickey Gall, who called him out on White’s “Looking for a Fight” web series, should Gall win his own UFC debut next month at UFC 196. Regardless, White expects Punk to still have a tough time making this a successful endeavor.

“The guy has never fought, he just started training and, you know, this is a tough business to get into,” White said. “When Brock Lesnar came into the UFC, he had a serious wrestling pedigree. And not just WWE wrestling. Legit collegiate wrestling. CM Punk doesn’t have any of that, so it’s going to be tough for him.”

Penick’s Analysis: Expectations will be extremely low for Punk in the cage. He’s going to be getting paid, he’s going to get promoted significantly, and he’s going to take attention that other, more relevant actual fighters could use, but once more those are criticisms towards the UFC giving him the opportunity, not him taking advantage of it. I can’t help but give him credit for the effort, and for continuing to do things the right way in his preparation for a first fight at 37-years-old. Whether he actually wins a fight or not is absolutely questionable, but it also doesn’t ultimately matter. As an aside, White saying UFC 199 is coming in June also lends credence to rumblings that there will be no Memorial Day weekend event in Las Vegas. That makes sense given how many Vegas events the UFC has had already this year (UFC 197 makes four straight pay-per-view events in their home base), so there will be a bit of a lull in May.

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  1. C.M. Punk interview – UFC training, debut fight, not doing “same old boring stuff,” more – PWTorch

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