Punk says whether the Internet criticism of him gets under his skin, and whether anything about preparing for his UFC debut has surprised him (w/Keller’s Analysis)

By Wade Keller, MMATorch editor

C.M. Punk

C.M. Punk says he isn’t affected by what people on the Internet are saying about him. He says he is content with his choices to challenge himself at a respected gym and trust the opinions of people whose opinions he respects.

“You can’t listen to what somebody on the Internet is saying about you,” he said during a recent media conference call. “You dig hard enough, you’ll find negative stuff about everybody and I’m a positive guy.”

He said some of the criticism of his technique on the “Evolution of Punk” docu-series on FS1 doesn’t faze him. “I know what I’m good at and what I’m going to be good at,” he said. “What I did a year and a half ago doesn’t matter to me.”

Punk said the training process and learning curve hasn’t surprised him. “No surprises,” he said. “I knew what I was getting into. As much as people want to say that I didn’t, I did. Nothing surprised me. The level of competition in my gym would be surprising to most people, but it wasn’t eye-opening to me. I wanted to do this at the highest level at the best gym in the world against the hardest guys to prove something in Octagon.

Keller’s Analysis: In a way, the dated footage in “Evolution of Punk” can be embarrassing for him now, given how much he has likely progressed. On the bright side, though, it is so dated, and surely he has cleaned up and advanced his techniques since the footage was show, so it’s not really pertinent footage for his opponent Mickey Gall to study and use to devise a strategy. I do think some people exclusively in the MMA universe underestimate how hard Punk had to work in his previous career to not only be great at what he did as a craftsman performing pro wrestling matches, but also keeping himself and his opponents safe and bouncing back and pushing through injuries and pain. In that respect, staying in the same city and working in the same gym gives him an opportunity to recharge and stay mentally sharp compared to the grind of traveling constantly and working out at different gyms and dealing with different time zones constantly. Punk has the mentality of someone who would love to just concentrate on one thing and try to excel at it without the distractions of travel. He’s also old enough to have prepared mentally for the challenges he was likely to face when preparing for MMA. All of that said, he also isn’t the type to show weakness or admit he underestimated anything, and I do understand the MMA community looking at someone with a level of fame in another athletic endeavor cashing that in and thinking in his late 30s he can suddenly reach UFC level fighting ability. Punk surely expected that, but is probably wise to take anything too personally in that regard on the Internet.

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