CM Punk's Perfect Next Opponent? Why, It's Edmond Tarverdyan, Of Course!

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2017

GLENDALE, CA - OCTOBER 27:  Trainer Edmond Tarverdyan attends  Ronda Rousey Hosts Media Day Ahead 0f The Rousey Vs. Holm Fight at the Glendale Fighting Club on October 27, 2015 in Glendale, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Here's something you probably hadn't contemplated: People are hot to see CM Punk return to the UFC, and they seem keen to have that return come against Ronda Rousey's oft-ridiculed coach, Edmond Tarverdyan.

Pretty good to roll into your weekend with that concept, huh?     

To be clear, the fight isn't close to being made. There is no logical reason to make it. It is objectively absurd on every measurable level.

Luckily though, this is MMA.

Pipe-dream fights happen with some regularity. Logic is increasingly on the back burner in a world where WME-IMG wants money fights above all else. The objectively absurd is often the mundane in this sport.

That's why this bout makes all the sense in the world.

Tarverdyan was back in the news this week, boldly claiming on The MMA Hour (via Bloody Elbow) he'd like to see Rousey come back for a fight against longtime nemesis Cris Cyborg. If that suggestion wasn't enough to warrant the type of tongue-clucking his nuggets of wisdom usually do, he followed it up by essentially telling the entire sport to "shut up" because he "know[s his] s--t."

And the tongues clucked.

Say what you will about Tarverdyan—for better or worse, he is absolutely magnetic. He is brash, he is confident and he carries himself with an amount of bravado that many—Rousey's own mother, included—might suggest to be unwarranted.

He's also 2-0 as a lightweight who's been inactive for five years and will turn 36 in December.

So naturally, in a world where former WWE star CM Punk is still on the UFC roster and appears hellbent on coming back to the cage to try his hand, Tarverdyan should be the guy to meet him.

Punk will turn 39 next month and has just notched another year of inactivity. He's 0-1 since signing with the UFC in 2014, with his lone loss coming in a highly memorable beatdown at the hands of the entirely legitimate Mickey Gall last September.

The clock is ticking for both guys, and there are motivations and merits on both sides of the ledger.

For Tarverdyan, he's long been ridiculed as having ridden Rousey's coattails to recognition. Many would suggest he can't distinguish between a right hook and a fishing hook. What better way to prove people wrong than to step in the cage himself and put on a good show against one of the more famous faces on the roster?

Further to that, Tarverdyan has had some financial troubles recently. While you'd never want to force a person into something as dangerous as an MMA fight purely for financial reasons, Tarverdyan might see a quick UFC payday as his best chance to get back on the level.

Realistically, if Punk got $500,000 to show up in the Gall fight, Tarverdyan should be able to get close to that for a night's work given his own name recognition. It probably wouldn't hurt to have Rousey, Travis Browne or other UFC fighters he's coached to be kicking around either, as they could potentially call in a favor to help get him paid.

For Punk, he'd be getting the biggest name opponent imaginable for a man in his position. While the fight that seemingly makes sense is fellow 0-1 slugger Mike Jackson, Punk would be met with the type of obnoxious swagger that would surely bring out the best in him as a self-promoter.

Also, given Punk's lack of experience and Tarverdyan's long layoff, there is a legitimate chance Punk could surprise and land a win. Few truly know what Tarverdyan's skill level is in combat, and though there is an idea of what Punk is at this point, there's no telling how much he may have improved since his last fight.

He could have closed the gap between him and someone of Tarverdyan's level, provided one ever existed, and plenty of people would pay to see how that would play out. Factor in that Tarverdyan would be coming up in weight to make the fight something of a size-versus-speed battle (albeit an almost comically inexperienced one), and it becomes that much more interesting.

Punk-Edmond: Coming soon to a UFC card near you?
Punk-Edmond: Coming soon to a UFC card near you?Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Again, let's be clear: This fight is not close to being made. There is no logical reason to make it. It is objectively absurd on every measurable level.

But this is MMA.

This is a sport where a pro wrestler shows up on a whim to headline the biggest event in UFC history.

This is a sport where people accidentally defecating in the middle of the action is met with a collective shrug and some smarmy tweets.

This is a sport where the biggest stars throw cans of energy drink at one another for minutes on end and are largely lauded for their salesmanship.

So you're going to say CM Punk vs. Edmond Tarverdyan couldn't happen? That it doesn't make sense? That it's too absurd? 

That’s exactly why it should happen.


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