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September 11, 2016

CM Punk says he'll keep fighting, but he isn't sure if it'll be in the UFC

CM Punk vows to fight on. He just doesn't know for what promotion.

After a blowout loss in his MMA debut to Mickey Gall at UFC 203, Punk said he'll continue training and fighting. The former WWE star just isn't sure if the UFC will want him back after a poor debutante performance.

"My initial venture into this was gonna be at the lowest level," Punk said at the post-fight press conference. "This opportunity just got presented to myself and I would have been a fool to say no. I don't know what happens from here on out. What if I get cut? I don't know. I think that's a possibility. Do I want that to happen? No. But who's to say where I go from here? I don't know. I definitely want to keep going."

Gall took Punk down right away and finished him with a rear-naked choke submission in just 2:14. Punk got emotional discussing the loss. Sure, it was his dream to be a mixed martial arts fighter and he said he had the time of his life this week. But he also planned on being victorious.

"There's probably an alternate reality somewhere where I win and I'm still disappointed in myself," Punk said, fighting back the tears. "That's just who I am. I'm just really, really hard on myself. I lost and it sucks and it was lopsided and it's upsetting. But I know I'm better than that."

Punk, 37, was then asked what his wife AJ Brooks, also a former WWE star, told him after he got out of the Octagon.

"You guys are all gonna make me cry," Punk said. "You bastards. ... She just said she was proud of me."

Punk will walk away from Cleveland with a bad cauliflower ear and stitches in his right eyebrow that might keep him out of training for a bit, though he said if it were up to him he'd be back at Roufusport on Monday. Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, was signed by the UFC in December 2014 after he retired from WWE earlier that year. Before that, he had little to no significant martial arts training other than some on-again, off-again work in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Rener Gracie.

"People can say I didn't belong here," Punk said. "They said I wasn't gonna make it to the Octagon and they said I wasn't gonna make it after the back surgery. Then it was I wasn't gonna make weight. I was happy I did it."

Happy overall, but hardly satisfied. Many thought Gall, who is 2-0 as a pro and has been training much longer, would beat Punk easily, but Punk himself didn't buy into that. He said he truly thought he'd win.

"I'm beating myself up way more than I got beat up," Punk said. "I'm supremely disappointed. ... I wanted to win. I wanted to perform. It didn't happen."

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