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Ben Askren Says CM Punk’s a Hard Worker, But Believes Aspiring Fighter Has a “Ways to Go”

Kelsey Mowatt

CM Punk

Early reports out of Roufusport is that CM Punk’s training is going extremely well, but one of his new teammates says he has a “ways to go”, before he’s ready to throw down in the UFC.

Punk, or Phil Brooks, has been training at the Milwaukee based gym now for a couple of months, in preparation for his UFC debut later this year (or early 2016). The gym’s head coach, Duke Roufus, has praised Brooks for his work ethic, and has also said that the aspiring fighter is a “natural striker.”┬áHe’s also relayed that he’d like to coach the former WWE star for one year, before the latter competes in the Octagon for the first time.

Well, recently Roufusport fighter and ONE welterweight champ Ben Askren spoke with Submission Radio, and here is some of what he had to say about Brooks (quote via Bloody Elbow.com):

“You know what, he’s very disciplined, he’s very dedicated, and he works really hard,” Askren said. “So it’s a pleasure having him in the gym, and obviously he’s got a long way to go because he started out of nowhere, right? Being a professional wrestler he didn’t really have a background coming into mixed martial arts. So he is getting a lot better, but he’s still got a ways to go.”

Since Punk has only been training with Roufusport since early January, Askren’s comments certainly shouldn’t be viewed as shocking. While Brooks has training in jiu-jitsu, off-and-on in recent years, he had no MMA experience as Askren noted.

After Punk’s UFC deal was first announced, Askren blasted the promotion for signing someone with no pro bouts under his belt. When Askren was a free agent, UFC President Dana White said the former Bellator champ hadn’t done enough to warrant a deal with the organization. Since then, however, Askren’s insisted he doesn’t fault Punk for taking the opportunity the UFC presented him, and during the aforementioned interview, he repeated those sentiments.

As far as “Funky”, the undefeated fighter is set to defend his welterweight title versus Luis Santos at ONE 26, August 24th. The 30 year-old Askren has scored finishes in both of his ONE appearances, since he signed with the Asia based promotion last year.

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