The longest reigning WWE champion in history, CM Punk, gave up his lucrative career as a professional wrestler to take punches and kicks from fighters in the world’s premiere MMA organization, the UFC. As Punk nears his MMA debut, at UFC 203, he joined The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday and explained his reasoning for taking such a career risk.

“I’m not one to kind of sit on the couch, I’d rather kind of get in the fire,” Punk said. “Every experience, whether it’s a good or bad one, you learn from it you grow from it. This seemed like the hardest possible thing I could do, and I knew going into it there’s going to be a ton of people saying I couldn’t, and to me, I think that’s not always a good reason to do something. People say you can’t fly, don’t jump off a building, but like, I enjoy challenges, and I want to, when it’s all said and done, when I’m in the ground, I want people to be like, yeah that guy had a life worth living.”

The 37-year-old hears the naysayers who believe his attempt to fight in the UFC is a joke, but he chooses to ignore them.

“It is a double edge. You can’t listen to people who tell you you’re the best ever. I know I’m not the best, and I always have things to learn and room to grow but I’m not the worst either. I’m not a joke. And I take this very seriously,” Punk said. “But they don’t see that, they don’t see what goes on in the gym. They don’t know what an athlete’s mindset is, and it seems like everybody loves their heroes and the one thing they love more than their heroes is tearing their heroes down or at least watching them fall. It’s always been the way in American society for some strange reason. I tune them out. I find my life is much more healthy when I do that.

“One of the seven rings of hell sounds like reading twitter reply’s or like YouTube comments or something like that. So you distance yourself from it, I just think it’s all around makes you a healthier person.”

Come September, when Punk enters the octagon to fight Mickey Gall, he is expecting some WWE similarities with one notable exception.

“I mean the difference is once that bell rings he’s coming at me to take my head off. We’re not trying to tell a nice little story in the ring or anything like that,” Punk laughed. “Everything else – crowd, bright lights, the media, the people – that’s business as usual for me.”


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