CM Punk Injury: Updates on UFC Star's Recovery from Back Surgery

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Jan 2, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Former WWE star Phil CM Punk Brooks is the featured guest for the UFC 182 Q&A session Friday evening before the start of the weigh-ins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

CM Punk's likely MMA debut at UFC 199 was officially pushed back Wednesday, as the former WWE Superstar will undergo back surgery.

According to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, Punk requires a procedure to repair a herniated disc, which he attributed to his wrestling days:

My back has always bugged me. Figured it was just wrestling s--t. Turns out it was. It got bad enough to the point where I couldn't do anything the week before I went to train with the New Jersey Devils last month. One day I could manage, the next day I couldn't. I've been in agony for almost a month. Chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, cryotherapy ... nothing worked.

Per Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog, UFC President Dana White originally planned to have Punk face Mickey Gall at UFC 199.

While the injury may be somewhat disconcerting for those who wanted to see the former five-time WWE world champion in the Octagon for the first time, Punk is undeterred, according to Helwani.

"This is just a bump in the road. I'm positive about this," he said.

Helwani reported the expected recovery time is four to six weeks and that Punk still intends to compete in 2016.

The 2-0 Gall remains locked in as his first opponent after easily beating Mike Jackson at UFC Fight Night 82 on Saturday.

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Per Critchfield, Punk recently expressed his desire to debut at UFC 200 in July despite White preferring to make it happen at UFC 199 in June. 

"It's not up to me, but if I have any stroke at all, I'm still saying [UFC 200]. But we'll have to wait and see," Punk said.

Although his status is up in the air at this point, appearing at UFC 199 or UFC 200 could be a stretch now that he'll be forced to rehabilitate a back ailment.

Punk's impending debut is undoubtedly among the most highly anticipated moments in UFC, but it has already been delayed twice, as he also dealt with a shoulder injury in October.

The fact that Punk is 37 years of age could be playing a factor in his injury struggles. Although he was a true iron man during his time in WWE, the years of constant wear and tear may be starting to take a toll.

Even though there are still plenty of unanswered questions with regard to Punk's UFC debut more than a year after he originally signed with the promotion, it is a potentially huge moneymaker for UFC, so one can only assume that everyone involved is still committed to getting Punk in the Octagon.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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