Former WWE star and UFC fighter CM Punk has warned Jake Paul not to underestimate Ben Askren's striking ability having trained with the Olympian himself.
Punk has trained with Askren for years at Roufusport MMA Academy in Milwaukee and admits that he isn't expecting "Funky" to look like Muhammad Ali, but doesn't believe that Askren isn't getting enough credit for his striking ability. The former pro wrestler knows about transitioning from one sport to another having gone from the WWE to the UFC with no martial arts experience under his belt. But Punk believes that people are writing Askren off as it's the easy suggestion to do.
"I think so," Punk told TMZ Sports. "But, I think it’s easy to do. It’s easy to sit on your couch and say that Ben isn’t a striker. I know a lot of people are counting him out, but I don’t think anybody should be surprised if he wins.”
Askren is a world-class grappler but his striking prowess has always been designed to get him closer to his opponents to attempt a takedown. Paul (3-0) has boxed prior but lacks any elite sporting pedigree compared to a former MMA champion and Olympian like Askren. Punk believes that this background can help the former Bellator champion to transition to boxing and get the victory in his debut.
"He’s a decorated athlete at a very, very high level in two different sports. Mindset and mentality is a big thing when you’re fighting and Ben has that in spades."