CM Punk Will Bring More Professional Wrestling Fans to UFC

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2014

WWE Superstar CM Punk addresses the crowd at Madison Square Garden, Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, in New York, during a rally leading up to the 25th Anniversary of Survivor Series, taking place Sunday at Madison Square Garden.  The event will feature actor and wrestling favorite Dwayne
DAVE ALLOCCA/Associated Press

At UFC 181, CM Punk announced that he had signed a multifight deal with the top MMA promotion in the world. He will enter the Octagon with a 0-0 record.

Some may criticize Dana White for signing a fighter with virtually no experience, but White is a businessman. He knows CM Punk will draw eyes to the product, and he would be stupid to pass up the opportunity to work with someone who is so passionate about everything he does.

Punk is a polarizing individual. You either love him or you hate him, and that is exactly why he is going to bring many WWE fans with him to UFC.

The constant CM Punk chants during matches featuring his wife, WWE performer AJ Lee, show that the crowd still misses him, and those people will likely be interested in his MMA career.

The fans who think CM Punk is a cocky jerk who whines too much will want to see him fail, so they will probably watch his fights, too. It's a win-win for White.

Wrestling and MMA have always shared a cross section of fans, but they both also have their devoted followers who only like one or the other.

Getting those wrestling fans who do not watch UFC to convert has always been one of White's goals, and bringing in guys like Brock Lesnar and CM Punk is a great way to do that.

Punk is not the first person to move between pro wrestling and MMA. Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn famously made the switch to American pro wrestling after dominating the early years of UFC (Shamrock had wrestled professionally in Japan before his UFC days), and plenty of wrestlers like Bobby Lashley (who is currently fighting for Bellator) and Alberto Del Rio have competed in MMA.

Athletes of either sport will automatically have some of the skills needed to succeed in the other, but nobody can just walk out of the ring and into an Octagon. It takes a lot of training and determination to make the switch.

It also takes exposure. Lashley has a professional record of 12-2, but he isn't signed to a UFC deal yet because he is not going to generate the kind of buzz Punk can.

Punk's move to MMA may have surprised a lot of people, but anyone who follows him on Twitter knows he has been a fan of the sport for a long time and has spent time training with the famed Rener Gracie.

You can say or think what you want about CM Punk, but one thing you have to admit is that the guy usually accomplishes what he sets his mind to.

Nobody thought this skinny kid with tattoos all over his body would ever make it to a WWE ring, but he busted his butt in Ring of Honor and got himself noticed.

Once he got to WWE, nobody thought he would ever make it past developmental, but Paul Heyman saw something in him and brought him into the new ECW.

Punk was on the main roster, but there was still people who doubted that he could ever be a main event star, let alone the top champion in the company for over a year.

Punk has been proving people wrong every step of the way. Perhaps he works even harder when there is someone doubting him, which is why he probably loves the fact that some people think he won't accomplish anything in MMA.

However, there are more people who wish for Punk to succeed, and many of them might not have thought about purchasing a UFC PPV before Punk signed with them.

He might not be dropping pipe bombs in MMA, but he will definitely be entertaining because he's not afraid to say what he's thinking. His pre-fight press conferences will not be promos, but they will be fun to watch.

One thing is for sure: He won't be short on challengers. He already has a Power Ranger trying to fight him, and there are several names in UFC who would love to hand Punk a loss in his first fight. If anything, he will be a hot commodity.

His recent appearance on Colt Cabana's Art of Wrestling podcast (NSFW language throughout) definitely shows that he is not going to hold back his opinions, so when he finally gets his first fight, you can expect some trash talk from both sides.

UFC is supposed to be about the best fighters in the world competing to see who is the top dog, but it's also an entertainment company that has to worry about ratings and sponsors.

Bringing in CM Punk is going to bring a whole new set of fans to the sport, and some of them might even like it enough to watch the fights Punk isn't involved in.

WWE even posted a message on its website wishing him luck, although the wording of the message could indicate some sarcasm behind those wishes. WWE phrased it the same way it does when someone is released from his or her contract: "WWE wishes Phil Brooks (aka CM Punk) the best of luck in his newest endeavor."

Punk may never return to WWE. We have to accept that, but at least his fans and detractors have some place to go watch him try to climb a new mountain (or in the case of the haters, take a fatal tumble down the cliff).

What do you think? Will CM Punk thrive in the UFC or will he fall flat on his face? Will you be watching his fights?

Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.

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