Ben Askren made it abundantly clear that he didn’t think much of the UFC’s decision to sign CM Punk to a contract, but he’s evidently impressed with what the pro-wrestling star has been showing in the gym.
When it was announced that the UFC had signed Punk, or Phil Brooks, to a deal, Askren took the opportunity to accuse the promotion of being hypocritical. Askren was hoping to sign with the UFC last year, but the promotion’s president Dana White argued that the former Bellator champ’s record wasn’t impressive enough. Brooks, however, has never fought in pro MMA. Askren also made clear, however, that he didn’t fault Brooks for taking the opportunity.
Well, Punk ended up selecting Milwaukee’s Roufusport gym for his main training base, which is where “Funky” also trains. Recently, Askren was asked by MMA Junkie about his new teammate, and here is some of what he had to say:
“When someone decides to come into the UFC and they don’t have a combat sports background, you’re kind of thinking, does he really understand what he’s getting into?” Askren said. “But I think he gets it. I think he’s taking it very seriously.”
Askren isn’t the first fighter to credit Brooks for what he’s been doing in the gym, and the facility’s head coach, Duke Roufus, has also been extremely complimentary of the former pro-wrestler. Now all that said, it remains to be seen if Punk can be an effective fighter in the world’s biggest MMA promotion. When Askren was asked whether he believes Brooks will be ready to fight at that level, he noted that Punk likely won’t face a top contender, but added “I don’t see why he can’t compete.”
Brooks is expected to make his UFC debut later in 2015. The aspiring fighter hasn’t committed to a weight class yet, but he has said he’ll likely fight at either middleweight or welterweight.