What could upstage College Football Championship weekend, UFC 181 and HBO Boxing? CM Punk signing with the UFC.
CM Punk announced that he’ll be making his octagon debut in 2015 and now the question immediately focuses on who will be his first opponent? Is he fast tracked for a title shot?
One thing we do know is that Punk, real name Phil Brooks, will fight in the 185 lb division. During the UFC 181 post fight press conference he discussed currently weighing 215 lbs but working his way down to 200lbs. From there he’d cut 15 lbs for fights and comfortably make the welterweight limit.
The welterweight division is stacked with talent, so here’s 5 options for Brooks’ first fight:
1. Josh Koscheck
Oh, Josh Koscheck. This is the highest profile fight Brooks could take. It’s against n established UFC personality and would be a huge draw for both hardcore and casual fans. Hardcore fans would rally behind Josh while all of the incoming WWE fans would expect Brooks to be CM Punk and pull out a dramatic victory. Koshcheck has lost his last 3 fights but they’ve been against current top 5 welterweight fighters. If Brooks wants to jump into marquee fights then Koscheck is his stepping stone.
2. Patrick Cote
Cote would be a stiff test as CM Punk’s first opponent but it’d surely make him a credible fighter with a victory. Cote is a UFC veteran that can test both Punks’ striking and grappling skills. Punk would have to bring his ‘A’ game to earn a victory.
3. Brian Ebersole
Brian Ebersole has made a living at 170 lbs in the UFC but he’d be a good opponent at 185 for Brooks. Brooks will have a good chance at takedowns and working his jits against a fighter that is smaller than him. Ebersole doesn’t finish many fights, so that protects Brooks from suffering a devastating KO.
4. Mike Pyle
Mike Pyle is a dangerous opponent for Brooks because there’s an above average chance that someone is getting KO’d in the fight. Pyle is aggressive and likes to mix it up; he isn’t afraid of taking 2 punches to deliver 1. Brooks’ profile would skyrocket if he KO’d his opponent and Pyle provides that opportunity, but he also could take Brooks’ head off and end his MMA career before sit begins.
5. Seth Baczynski
Baczynski has lost 4 of his last 5 fights but is still relevant enough to give Brooks a worthy opponent. Brooks will have to polish his striking to have a chance against Seth; a fight that consist of wrestling and jiujitsu would play into the hands of Baczynski.