CM Punk was thoroughly embarrassed in his UFC debut against a 24-year old kid with just two professional fights to his name. Of course, Punk himself is 37 and had never participated in a real MMA bout before either. While many people on the internet were quick to trash Punk’s attempt at being a pro fighter, former WWE champion and current general manager of Smackdown Live Daniel Bryan says that he respects what Punk attempted to do.
In an interview with The Philly Voice, Bryan said he had a lot of respect for Punk trying something so audacious, even if he did fail pretty miserably.
“I did watch the fight. Punk and I have never been best friends or anything like that. I don’t even think I have his number in my phone, but I really support him in that fight. I was really hoping he would win. The reality is that even though he lost, he was dead on in his promo afterwards. It’s the whole thing with me and him, and guys like Sami Zayn and Neville even trying to wrestle. Right? It’s just this idea of you have this dream that everybody tells you that you can’t do, but you just keep going after it. Sometimes, you’re not successful, right? He wasn’t “successful” in the fight. But he fought a professional fight in UFC. That’s crazy! You know? It’s crazy and it’s awesome and he may have lost and he may have gotten beat up, but hey, he tried it. How many people would be afraid because of their ego to not even put themselves out there like that? I like to train jiu jitsu and I like to muay thai and the number of people who train all the time but won’t put themselves out there to even do like a tournament and nobody knows who they are. The ego part of you that says, ‘Well, if I go and I do it and I lose, what does that mean?’ Well, [Punk] went out and did it, right? He’s a huge public figure. I have the utmost respect for him trying to go do it.
“It’s hard, too. At that age, and I know at my age and how many injuries I have, just getting up out of bed every morning, you know, for the most part, I feel really good. But then to get up and go train with killers – that camp is a great camp. And so you go in there and train with great guys and getting beat up every day. It’s tough. That’s the job. The job is getting beat up every day. And right towards the fight, then you have to lose a bunch of weight. So, it’s like, ‘OK I get beat up every day, now go lose 15 pounds. Oh, just like that? Oh, OK.’”
Bryan has a point. Punk literally decided to jump into one of the hardest and most physically demanding jobs on the planet. Even with over a years worth of professional training, Punk just couldn’t hang with someone who has literally been training in martial arts since the age of 13.
Bryan wasn’t the only combat sports personality to express admiration for Punk’s daring career choice. Many other WWE superstars and UFC fighters publicly applauded Punk’s courage on social media, saying that not many people have the stones to step into a UFC cage in the first place.