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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Will CM Punk Fight in the UFC Again?

September 14, 2016 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez
CM Punk UFC

Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to bring to you this week’s edition of the fact and the fiction within the chaotic world of mixed martials arts. But, before we move on, I want to thank you for your comments and votes last week. As always, it is appreciated and encouraged. Last week, Jeffrey Harris and Scott Kuczhowski went toe-to-toe over subjects like Ryan Bader’s recent walk-off knockout, Tim Kennedy’s opinion on PTSD, and Joe Silva retiring from the UFC in addition to other subjects. What a great showing by both men. Scott held an early lead and extended the margin only for Jeffrey to rally back from the brink of a one -sided defeat, close the margin, and end the contest in a draw with a score of 20-to-20. Great effort by both men and thank you both for your contributions.

This week, Jon Butterfield and Todd Vote lock horns for what promises to be an epic showdown as they discuss subjects like whether or not we will see CM Punk fight in the UFC again, Luke Rockhold taking up modeling, Fabricio Werdum not earning a title shot, and much more! Well now, you know what time it is. Get comfortable and lay back because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let’s jump right in…

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Jonathan “Butters” Butterfield
Interviewer/Columnist, 411 MMA Zone
1-0-1

VS

BLUE CORNER
“The Toddfather” Todd Vote
Contributor, Various 411 Zones
1-2-0


Despite a one-sided mauling at the hands of Mickey Gall and Dana White saying his next fight probably shouldn’t be in the UFC, CM Punk will fight at least once more in the premier MMA promotion.

Todd Vote: FICTION I’m thinking this goes in a similar route as what they did with Cyborg, where Punk will fight under a different banner, perhaps, but the bills will still be paid by the UFC. If Punk can get a few wins and start looking like he belongs, he could earn another fight in the premier promotion. It all depends on his willingness to train and get better. He’s got a long road ahead of him if he intends to stick it out.

Jon Butterfield: FACT I think if CM Punk is absolutely adamant he wants to fight again, the UFC will end up accommodating him. A few years ago that might not have been the case, and if the UFC said no, Punk would wind up with offers from far-flung corners of the earth or minor promotions where his outing would be either less lucrative or less appealing. Now, though, it’s hard to imagine Bellator not stepping forward and offering Punk an excellent deal, an opponent he’s likely to beat, and a genuine global platform. For better or worse, Bellator knows how to market these types of fights, and they know where to pitch the level of opposition. Heck, they might even wind up pitting him against another former wrestler; it’s hardly beyond the realms of possibility after the Kimbo-Dada fiasco, and no, I don’t think they’ll have learned their lessons because these types of fight have successfully raised the profile of the company.


CM Punk would be the perfect edition and contestant to a season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Todd Vote: FICTION He is already under contract to the UFC. The only reason I could see to put him in the house of TUF would be if they plan to cut him and make him work his way back. The only way it makes sense for Punk to be in the house is if they changed the format. Otherwise, what purpose is there for him to be competing for a UFC contract?

Jon Butterfield: FACT No question. Remember TUF: The Heavyweights, with Matt Mitrione, Roy Nelson, Brendan Schaub, Kimbo Slice, etc? Kimbo wasn’t a legitimate MMA fighter, Marcus Jones nearly passed out because he wasn’t used to training every day, and even Mitrione didn’t have a single fight to his name prior to the TUF Finale. The Ultimate Fighter is still the place for 0 and 0 fighters to hone their craft in an intense, claustrophobic environment, and CM Punk would likely blossom in front of the cameras, as invasive as they are. Plus, he needs experience. TUF might not be the biggest thing in the MMA world no matter how hard the UFC tries to keep it relevant, but it’s definitely good experience for fighters and CM Punk likewise would be an interesting addition to the show. If Punk wants to fight again, I see this as a very plausible route to that fight. After a season of The Ultimate Fighter, we’ll know for sure if there’s any hope of Phil Brooks making it at any level in pro MMA.


Fabricio Werdum did not earn a title shot with his win over Travis Browne at UFC 203; instead, he earned the perfect opportunity to rematch Junior Dos Santos.

Todd Vote: FICTION I say make Werdum vs. Valezquez II if you really need to have a title eliminator. Though I question the necessity of such a bout in a paper thin division. Werdum is the former champ, he has returned to winning form, albeit in unspectacular fashion. I suppose Dana is still hell bent on Cain being champ, he can fight Miocic while JDS and Werdum tangle.

Jon Butterfield: FACT I think the fights that make the most sense are Werdum-dos Santos and Miocic-Velasquez. Cain mauled Travis Browne in what was already seen as a contender eliminator fight, while Werdum didn’t post anything like as impressive a performance. After two mediocre outings, Werdum now needs to slay a demon from his past in the form of his one-time conqueror to really stand out. But it’s nice nonetheless to have this kind of conundrum at heavyweight, given it’s not so long ago it was hard to see past a 7 or 8 fight series between Velasquez and JDS!


SWITCH!

With Robbie Lawler pulling out of their recently announced UFC 205 bout, Donald Cerrone should not accept a replacement opponent; and, should wait for Lawler to heal and for the bout to be rebooked.

Jon Butterfield: FICTION Maybe he should, but I can’t see it happening. Cerrone is arguably the most game fighter in the UFC, and I wouldn’t even be surprised if he wanted to division hop to make sure he got a suitable challenge. Heck, he tried to stand in for CB Dollaway recently on pretty much a day’s notice, and he’ll keep making noise until he gets something lined up. I wouldn’t advise he took those kinds of risks, and maybe the UFC won’t let him do it, but let’s be honest, Cerrone wants to fight and he’s not precious about his win streak or his momentum or any of that as long as he’s got something booked – so why should we be? Let the man fight.

Todd Vote: FICTION We expect Cowboy to wait? Hell no, he should keep angling for that fight he wants with Alvarez. Throw a big fit, get the fight he wants. It works for everyone else, why not Cowboy. I would personally be okay with him waiting for Lawler, but I don’t think it is necessary. I’m actually sort of surprised Cowboy didn’t throw his hat in the ring to fight himself after Lawler pulled out.


The UFC, particularly, the middleweight division, will not endure a huge loss if Luke Rockhold does indeed leave his MMA career behind for a modeling career over money.

Jon Butterfield: FICTION I would say ‘Fiction’ without a shadow of a doubt. Rockhold is essentially the number two-ranked middleweight right now, and I suspect many would still pick him in either a rematch with Bisping or a fresh fight with Henderson. Behind him, there’s Weidman and Souza as legitimate top-ranked fighters, a suspended Romero, a struggling Belfort, a few middling fighters, and a series of surging prospects who aren’t quite there yet. The middleweight division, even in the heyday of Anderson Silva, was hardly packed with world class talent, and while the scene is certainly more competitive now, it’s not so well-endowed that it could comfortably cover the loss of one of the best fighters it has. Purely from a competitive standpoint, which is my real interest, it would be a huge and unnecessary loss.

Todd Vote: FACT Rockhold is a tremendous fighter, no doubt. But the UFC and the division would both be fine if he were to leave the company for a modeling contract. He is a former champion, sure, but I don’t know if I would consider him a big star the likes of Jones, or DC, well maybe on the DC level. Either way, the company will be fine without him. Plus, if he is considering this, his mind is clearly not focused on fighting anyways. Walk away, if the passion to fight returns, so can Rockhold.


The best scenario that can possibly play out for the UFC Featherweight division is we get Anthony Pettis vs. Max Holloway and Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo II.

Jon Butterfield: FACT Probably, though the featherweight division is always fun and there a few great matchups to make with guys outside the top four ranking spots. The main question mark, however, is the future of Conor McGregor, who Dana White has recently stated won’t be fighting at 170 lbs any longer – without giving up the belt, that is.

The thing is, McGregor surely has the taste for big money super fights, which evidently can still be big money super fights even if they’re not against legitimate top-ranking pound for pound fighters. That opens the door to a lot of intriguing fights, in truth, and there would be no shortage of takers in any division, which might mean the featherweight division has to wait even longer to see when – or if – the Irishman ever intends to defend his UFC belt. My guess is Conor won’t be defending that title, period. Having avenged his first defeat to Diaz, McGregor has shown he can compete outside the (dis)comfort of his own weight class, and having already burned a trail through that division, I don’t really see what else he has to prove that would be either more lucrative or more interesting to the man himself. Cementing his legacy doesn’t have to come via a belt.

Todd Vote: FACT I suppose so, though, as long as we get McGregor defending or vacating the title so the division can move forward, it’ll be a good thing. The division has been in a bit of a log jam since Conor decided to try and conquer the world. It’s time for him to defend or vacate.


So who won? Was Tood able to top Jon? Or, is Jon just on another level? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!


And that’s it for today, but as always, we’ll be back next week with another contest! And please, be sure to vote!

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