Tell me if you heard this before: Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) signs former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion.
No, it's not Groundhog Day. On the contrary, UFC has inked C.M. Punk to a multi-fight contract (read more details here), following in the footsteps of his professional wrestling contemporary, Brock Lesnar. The stunning announcement was made during tonight's UFC 181 pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast, as "Punk" a.k.a. Phil Brooks, joined ringside commentator Joe Rogan Octagon-side between matches.
"My professional wrestling days are over. It's awesome to be here. This is something that has been in the back of my mind for a very, very long time. I have a background in Kempo, I've done Brazilian jiu-jitsu off and on for a very long time. But, the idea of being able to step inside the Octagon and find out what's inside myself, test myself, is an opportunity that I was not able to deny myself. I don't think I'd be able to live with myself if I didn't give this a shot. I felt like it was "now or never" three years ago, but I re-signed with WWE, and I tried to give it the old college try. But, it's now or never for me. I have a limited window just like all fighters do and I'm ready for a fight. I'm here for a fight. I'm here to kick someone's ass or get my ass kicked. This is my new career 100 percent. I'm going to go full steam ahead, all systems go, after today. It's going to be fun. I have nothing but respect for everyone here in the UFC — everybody who steps inside the Octagon to fight. And when it's all said and done, when I'm finished, everyone will have to respect me because I came here to fight."
"Punk" -- who rolls with Rener Gracie frequently (watch video here) -- promised to reveal his training camp in the days ahead, stating that he didn't want to get too involved now and ruin the surprise announcement. He will undergo a test weight cut, too, and will likely join the Middleweight ranks, but didn't rule out a potential cut to Welterweight.
See you in 2015! And, quite possibly, the return of "Beast Incarnate," too? We could only be so lucky.