The first question many fans asked when Phil “CM Punk” Brooks (pictured) signed with the UFC was, “Huh?” The second question was likely, “Who is he going to make his UFC debut against?”
While UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta didn’t necessarily answer the second question when talking to ESPN.com, he did shed some light on what the company is thinking for arguably their biggest mainstream star (who has yet to perform once for them).
“I think it has to be somebody with some level of credentials,” said Fertitta. “It’s not just going to be some guy off the street. It’s going to be somebody who is a professional mixed martial artist – certainly somebody who MMA media will recognize and know.
“But I’m going to defer to Joe Silva. We’ll let him bring two to three names to the table and we’ll figure it out from there. But I guarantee you it will be a competitive guy.”
Fertitta says the company is taking a “fighter development” approach with Brooks. I guess it’s a similar strategy they employed with former street fighting legend Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson in 2010. That move didn’t pan out too well, and Brooks might not either.
“We knew there was going to be backlash,” Fertitta admitted. “At the end of the day, we did our research and we talked to the people he’s trained with. We’re going to find out what he can bring to the table. We’re confident he has the skills to fight. We don’t know exactly what level yet. Sometimes, you’ve got to invest in what we call ‘fighter development.’ We’ve done it before and guys have developed into very competitive fighters, and we’ve done it where guys have not.”
Fertitta said Brooks would face an opponent the media will know and recognize. Brooks says it will be someone with the same experience as him, which is ZERO. How many of those fighters are out there?
“They will give me a fight that makes sense — unless this thing is a big rib on me and they have me fight Anderson Silva right away,” said Brooks. “I could tell you what the outcome of that fight would be.
“Only time will tell, but if I had to guess who’s standing across the Octagon from me, it’s probably a young kid with around the same experience as myself.”
Brooks is currently training with the talented team at Roufusport MMA Academy. He is expected to make his UFC debut this summer.