The Dive: What’s Next for CM Punk

CM Punk
Photo via Megan Elice Meadows - Under Creative Commons License

If you watched UFC 225 on Saturday like I did, then you saw CM Punk compete in his second UFC fight against Mike Jackson.

Let me start off by saying that Punk fared much better than I thought he would. He actually put together a decent first round and looked energized to be fighting in front of his hometown Chicago fans.

Everything after that, though, was a mess.

Once Jackson got Punk to the mat, it was over. It seemed that Jackson was toying with Punk in the final two rounds, bashing in Punk’s face for the better part of 10 minutes. There was no doubt who the victor was when it went to the judge’s decision. Jackson won by unanimous decision, giving Punk a 0-2 record in UFC.

This leaves Punk with a question: now what? It appears Punk wants to keep fighting. He said before the fight Saturday that he planned to keep on pursuing MMA no matter how the fight went.

The only problem with that, however, is that Dana White doesn’t think Punk should keep fighting. White said that Punk is the “nicest guy in the world,” but then said that it’s probably for the best if Punk walks away from the sport.

So, what do you do if you’re CM Punk? The UFC doesn’t want you back. You’re 39 years old, married, and have a decent-looking bank account following this weekend’s event. Punk is going to have to look himself in the mirror and see what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

If he does keep on fighting, it won’t be in the UFC. Simply put, Punk is not ready to be fighting at that level of competition. I don’t fault UFC for signing Punk when his star was hot in 2014, but it’s obvious that Punk was not ready to face men the caliber of Mickey Gall and Mike Jackson. This leaves Punk with chances to fight for a company like Bellator, who’s never been afraid to bring in people with the star power like Punk.

He could also go into writing comic books. Punk has experience working with Marvel, and it seems like something he’s truly passionate about. A career working with comics could be a way to earn some income as he approaches 40 years old.

A natural fit would be hosting a podcast. What the premise would be, I have no idea. But, we all know Punk is a great talker, and hosting his own podcast could lead to some revealing things about his wrestling career.

Finally, there’s pro wrestling. Now, to be perfectly clear, WWE is never going to be an option again for Punk. He’d have to be given all creative control for him to go back, and you know there’s no chance in hell that’s happening. This leaves companies like Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the indies as places for Punk to wrestle.

Punk explicitly said he was not wrestling on the upcoming “All In” show being ran by Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks, but Punk is doing a signing in Chicago that weekend as a part of the weekend festivities. If he’s going to make a return to the squared circle, there’s a good chance it would happen on that show. Otherwise, I don’t see wrestling in Punk’s future.

Punk finds himself at the crossroads of his professional career. Where he goes from here is up to him.