UFC 225 main card kicks off with a much anticipated welterweight matchup as hometown hero former WWE superstar CM Punk takes on Mike Jackson.
After a disappointing debut, there was a big question mark as to whether Punk should continue with his UFC career or not. The fans criticized UFC for giving Punk a main event slot and are already writting him off. However Punk’s coach world renowned Duke Roufus claims Punk has made leaps and bounds and promises a different CM Punk this time.
“The first fight, I’m not gonna lie, we all rolled the dice. It was like this crazy science project,” Roufus told MMAFighting’s Marc Raimondi in an exclusive interview. “I haven’t been that nervous before a fight before, honestly.”
“That being said, I don’t have those nerves coming into this one, because we had a session [Sunday] with coach [Scott Cushman] and with coach [Daniel] Wanderley with Punk and everything just seemed just all together,” he continued. “Not that he was struggling, but he just peaked out. It’s like he understands the sixth sense of fighting. It took him a while to get that. That’s the thing. Everyone knows the Xs and Os of this stuff and we teach you the Xs and Os, the theories.”
“But there’s instinct. And the instinct is there — the reactions, the seeing things before they happen. Having that sixth sense and he had it. I’m very happy about that. Sometimes fighters never get that.”
There is a chance of Punk getting the ‘cut’ if he losses at UFC 225. However Roufus thinks Punk will still carry on with his MMA career.
“He’s gonna continue. He’s got too much vested in this,” Roufus said of his 39-year-old fighter. “He truly loves the martial arts lifestyle. He’s very into the culture of this. When he was coming up as a wrestler, he wrestled in Japan, in the Japanese professional wrestling culture is very martial-arts based. A lot of things that I did when I trained in the K-1 dojo in Thailand are a lot of the same things he did in Japanese wrestling. That’s kind of our connection in the gym. He mops the mat every day. There’s a term in wrestling in Japan, it’s called the ‘young boys.’ Those are the young guys.”
“When I stayed my first of many times in Thailand, I had to mop, I had to sweep the gym,” he continued. “I had to do dishes, laundry with the young fighters if I was gonna be accepted as part of the camp. That’s something that he’s done very well. He mops the mat every day when he trains. It’s impressive to see a guy with his success keep that humility and grounding.”