At UFC 203, CM Punk made his long-awaited debut as a professional MMA fighter, possibly one of the most controversial to ever step inside the cage. Punk’s pro career has been one of incredible ups and downs, from his highly successful but ridiculously tumultuous life as a pro wrestler, to his highly publicized and often criticized attempt to embark on a UFC career at such an advanced age. Punk has made a habit out of saying what he thinks and doing what he wants, and it has all led him to a highly publicized debut fight which most people were correct in saying that he couldn’t win. But then, Punk has been fighting against nearly impossible odds for his entire life. After all, it was only a few years ago where he had managed to work his way up, against all odds, to become the biggest star in professional wrestling. And that’s where our look at the journey of CM Punk, a man who went from the top of the wrestling business to a struggling MMA rookie, begins.
Struggling From The Start
CM Punk probably should have never made it to WWE in the first place. He was too small, too “indie”, and he often rubbed people the wrong way. However, he also had an incredible mind for the business, and was taken under the win of the legendary promoter Paul Heyman, who was in charge of WWE’s developmental system at the time, and who taught Punk about how wrestling worked from the backstage side, while Punk honed his craft in the ring. It was Heyman who enabled Punk’s rise to WWE, bringing him in as a hot prospect for the revived ECW brand, and protecting him as much as possible from the machinations of backstage politics. Thanks to the head start, Punk hung around even after Heyman was removed from power, carving himself out a niche in the midcard and slowly building a fanbase, but never seeming to ascend to the real heights of the main event. Even though he earned a pair of runs as World Heavyweight Champion, Punk was still seen as an afterthought by those in power, a solid worker who was never going to be a top guy. But in 2011, CM Punk took a live microphone on Raw and cut a blistering promo against the company he worked for, and things would never be the same for him ever again.