Former WWE superstar CM Punk will make his long-awaited debut in the Octagon on Sept. 10 at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Punk announced that he'd be facing Mickey Gall on the upcoming card while appearing on the "UFC Unfiltered" podcast released on Thursday.
"I've been laying low media-wise because I've got nothing to say. I've got no date, I've got nothing to say and you can't talk a whole bunch of (expletive) until you've stepped in there, which I haven't and I understand all that. I've just been rehabbing my back and doing what I can striking- and jiu-jitsu-wise," Punk said.
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The instant I got cleared I got on the horn with Dana (White) and we nailed everything out so I will be debuting September 10 in Cleveland. I'm super excited. For obviously a myriad of reasons. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.
Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, was signed to the UFC after leaving the WWE all the way back in December 2014. After he inked his contract, Punk then moved to Milwaukee where he began training under head coach Duke Roufus and his team to begin preparing for his debut in the Octagon.
At the time, Punk was expected to take anywhere from six months to a year to get ready, but the timeline kept getting pushed back as injuries continuously forced him out of training.
Most recently, Punk had back surgery to fix some lingering problems from his days as a professional wrestler, but now, 21 months after he signed with the UFC, he's finally ready to fight.
"I got cleared by my doctors yesterday morning and I've been cheating a little bit on that rule anyways for the past month. It's nice to be healthy," Punk said.
As far as his opponent goes, Punk saw Gall in action back in early February when he submitted Mike Jackson with a quick first-round finish to officially earn the shot at the former WWE wrestler for his first fight.
Gall was discovered on UFC president Dana White's reality series "Looking for a Fight" before competing for a chance to face Punk in his debut.
"I think there's a lot of suspect people out there with their opinions that they're going to throw a can at me or whatever. They really haven't. Body weight, height, reach, everything, I think we're almost identical. Experience goes to him. He's fought in the Octagon and other places and I haven't. He's a nice guy. I talked to him very briefly at his debut and I felt bad that I had this setback and he's been on the sidelines waiting," Punk said about Gall.
"I think he's a tough kid, but also his fights have been pretty short so you don't really get to see all of his skills. I kind of look at not so much the guy, but who they train with and he trains at a great camp in New Jersey, the Miller brothers. I've got nothing but respect for those guys."
Punk knows that Gall will be a tough test and that's exactly what he wanted when he signed his UFC contract in the first place. Now Punk will get his chance to prove himself when he faces Gall as part of the UFC 203 card, headlined by heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic against Alistair Overeem.
"That's the whole reason I did this is to challenge myself," Punk said. "So it's going to be a challenge and I'm looking forward to it."