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10th Mar 2015

CM Punk paid some pretty encouraging compliments by top MMA coach Duke Roufus

High praise indeed

Ben Kiely

Elite MMA striking coach Duke Roufus is impressed by CM Punk during his training for the UFC.

The UFC came under heavy criticism for signing the former WWE superstar to their roster last year, with many claiming it was a shameless PR stunt. However, judging by what former kickboxing world champion Duke Roufus has been saying about Punk, he might surprise a few people in his promotional debut.

Punk is training under Roufus to hone his skills, and the top striking coach was full of praise for the former wrestler’s commitment to training.

‘He’s putting his work in, he shows up every day. He has a great attitude. He didn’t become successful in the WWE by accident. It’s because he was a worker and he was a value to the organization, not only in the front as a face, but in who he is. People get behind people who are easy to work with, and he’s so easy to work with. It’s awesome.’

Roufus also revealed that he was surprised with how well-rounded the 36-year-old was before he came to train at his gym.

‘The natural thing he’s good at, which makes me happy, is striking. He’s a natural striker. When he did a scrimmage last week, he was pretty comfortable in the fire. He didn’t freak out, he didn’t panic.’

The trainer called the hype train surrounding his fighter to a halt by admitting that Punk was still far from the finished product. He explained that Punk requires more time to prepare for his fighting debut, but he has the potential to turn some heads when he gets his first fight in the promotion.

That’s what I’m looking for in new fighters. It’s not necessarily skill. You can teach skill, but you can’t teach will. Are they going to run and break during a fight, or are they going to get in there and survive the fire? And that’s what I was impressed with. I think in time, all his skills are going to advance, but if he has the mindset and the will, he’s going to do great.

When asked how soon fight fans can expect to see Punk’s first fight in the UFC, Roufus confessed that they might have to wait a little while longer to see Punk slugging it out inside the Octagon.

I would like a year, honestly, because I want him to be the best product for himself, for the organization, and for the industry. I mean, I want him to go out there and put on a great fight and do great things.

Hat-tip to Bloody Elbow