CM Punk was always facing an uphill battle in MMA, but he's won over at least some in the sport.
Just a couple of months following his December 2014 announcement that he'd signed with the UFC, Punk joined the Roufusport camp out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The team has produced several champions, including Anthony "Showtime" Pettis, Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren, in addition to Sergio Pettis, Ben Rothwell, Stephan Bonnar and countless others. Another name is Emanuel Sanchez, a Bellator featherweight who CM Punk earned the respect of.
"CM Punk is a very hard worker. I think that's something that people are overlooking. It's like, 'yeah, we have this pro wrestling guy with no experience who's going to come in here and try to make it a show.' I think that's a bunch of bologna. CM Punk is a very hard worker, always in class, ahead of time. First one here, last one to leave, honestly. He does need that to go out and have his first fight at his age – it's difficult. I know he's working hard and putting the work in on top of the detail so he's ready for his first fight," Sanchez told Fightful.com recently.
Sanchez admitted that initially Punk appearing at Roufusport was a bit of a distraction, but the coaches at Roufusport have done a good job of handling and managing such.
CM Punk will take on Mickey Gall at UFC 203 Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio.