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Duke Roufus on CM Punk at UFC 203: 'I'm coming in with a Trojan horse'

CM Punk's head coach loves the idea that the only footage out there on his fighter is from the FOX Sports 1 'Evolution of Punk' television show. He thinks it will be a big advantage for Punk's fight vs. Mickey Gall at UFC 203 later tonight (Sat., Sept. 10, 2016).

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Ryan Loco

There isn't a ton of readily available fight footage on CM Punk since he hasn't yet fought, but what is out there to be seen isn't exactly going to turn any heads either.

Punk, 37, recently appeared in the FOX Sports 1 special entitled "The Evolution of Punk," which showcased all the stages of his training camp in lead up to tonight's (Sat., Sept. 10, 2016) showdown against Mickey Gall at UFC 203 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The former WWE champion could be seen getting taken down repeatedly, and not faring too well on the mat or anywhere else for that matter. That added fuel to the fire of his critics, who believe that footage only underscores the fact that he simply is not ready to be a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter.

However, his head coach, Duke Roufus, loves that the FS1 footage of Punk is out there and people are continuing to focus on how poor he looked. Roufus, 46, was a guest on "CM Punk Road to the Octagon" on SiriusXM RUSH on Wednesday (Sept. 7, 2016) and told hosts Larry Dallas and Danny Acosta he believes it's a huge advantage.

"Yeah, because it's way old," Roufus said. "He's a different cat. I purposely--at the open workouts today--didn't do any striking with him. I'm coming in with a Trojan Horse. You don't know what he can do, that's the awesome thing about it. We know what Mickey can do. We don't know what Punk can do. The unknown is worse than the known if you ask me."

The Roufusport head coach loves to use a good analogy. So, in case you need a brush up on history, the "Trojan horse" is a reference to the Trojan War, when the Greeks snuck members of their army into the city of Troy by hiding them on the inside of a giant wooden horse. That surprise attack that followed ultimately led to the Greeks winning the war.

Roufus, who began working with Punk in January of 2015, said the fact that MMA doesn't have the level of striking often seen in boxing and kickboxing will be of great benefit to Punk. The head coach and former kickboxing champion has the benefit of Gall not being able to see anything other than dated footage and can prepare a novice like Punk--who obviously won't be a master technician when he steps inside the Octagon--with a solid game plan for battle that will only be seen once the fight unfurls.

"I talked to a few other great reporters out there and they talk to me 'how are you going to catch him up in the technical thing?'" Roufus added. "They way I look at striking in MMA, it's not as technical in boxing, kickboxing, or muay thai. So that being said with that whole behavior going down, I tried to make it more simplistic and aggressive and not have him over think it. That is what great MMA striking is. Some of the best just go out and punch someone out, kick someone out, or take them down and ground and pound him, submit. That is what he's gotta do."

Don't worry, you won't see Punk trying to emulate his teammate Anthony Pettis anytime soon.

"I can promise you he won't be doing 'Showtime' kicks and jumping off cages just yet," said Roufus, who told MMAMania that Punk's best attribute is his punching power. "In due time, we'll get there. We'll work on that to. Every dog has it's day and our day is gonna come because he is planning on making this his full time career. He's sticking with it. This isn't a one-and-done thing. So, that being said, he's improved a lot. I like the footage that is out there because it's really not who Punk is now. That's the cool thing about it. He's so new to this that his curve changes so quickly."

One of the reasons Roufus feels so strongly about the limited FS1 footage of his fighter being an advantage, is because he's been a coach for a very long time and when there is a lot of video on an opponent, more time can be spent on preparing for ways to game plan on how to defeat them.

"When I watch a guy," Roufus explained. "For instance and I don't want to say this disrespectfully because his performances are very consistent. When I game planned with Anthony for the fight against Donald Cerrone ... He does a lot of things consistently well. Well, because there is a lot of footage out there for me to look at, I can consistently game plan against something. Consistency has some things to it that help you fight against it as well. The more you see someone the more you get ideas to defeat them in my humble opinion. That's why guys that continue to win on the big stage is impressive because there are a lot of great minds in this sport."

Roufus has long been lauded as one of the best coaches in the fight game. Should Punk get his hands raised tonight at UFC 203 in his MMA debut, it would assuredly be a huge win for him and the Roufusport Gym. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 203 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

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