It’s not surprising CM Punk, in his first live interview since his last mixed martial arts fight at UFC 225 back in June, reaffirmed his lack of interest in returning to pro wrestling. We heard him say as much in the build up to his one-sided loss to Mike Jackson in Chicago, and the Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes confirmed he’d turned down a specific pitch to appear at ALL IN on Sept. 1.
It’s a little more surprising to hear Punk say he’s not done as a pro MMA fighter. Jackson joined Mickey Gall in, as Booker T would say, beating the brakes off the Straight-Edge Superstar. UFC President Dana White has again said the promotion is likely done using him to sell tickets.
Punk told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani both things on his MMA Show today (Sept. 10), however:
“There’s absolutely no shame in taking a chance in your life, and I took a big chance... I feel like even speaking about this now there’s a finality to it, but I don’t want anybody to jump to conclusions and start making headlines. I gotta talk to Duke [Roufus, his coach], I gotta get back to training and I plan on doing that as soon as I wrap on this movie [the Souska sisters’ remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid]...
I think so [that he’s not done fighting]. I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not throwing my name in a hat right away. The door’s open. I’m taking opportunities as they come and if there’s a deadline it’s probably before the end of the year, but like I said, I’ve been talking to Duke and he’s like, ‘Just let me know when you’re coming back and we’ll talk about what’s in your future,’ and that’s my plan - to talk to him.
I’ve talked to UFC personnel about going out to Vegas and see the old Performance Institute. I have not spoken to Dana in a couple months.
I don’t think it’s UFC or bust. But I’m in a weird position. There’s other places out there, but it’s just like - would I go? Should I go? ... I still look at it like the world’s my oyster and I’m fortunate enough to be able to kind of pick and choose. I’ll be the first to admit, you know me, I’m brutally honest - it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to fight in the UFC again, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
No, I got no idea [if Dana and UFC plan to release him]. He said after the first fight that I probably shouldn’t fight again and then I fought again, so we’ll see.”
Punk seems like the kind of person who won’t admit he can’t until he’s forced to, so it’s not super-surprising he’s not willing to swear off MMA or even the Octagon yet. As you can tell in this quote and elsewhere in his conversation with Helwani, he’s not under the impression he’s a good pro fighter. But he’s down to keep trying as long as people keep letting him. And not even White has officially said he won’t let him again. Yet, anyway.
As for pro wrestling?
“That’s like an escape hatch... There’s just nothing that interests me in wrestling.”