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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Ben Askren has been working with former WWE star CM Punk at Roufusport in Milwaukee, prepping the longtime professional wrestler for a debut in the UFC. However, he doesn't think Punk is there just yet.
"You know what, he's very disciplined, he's very dedicated, and he works really hard," Askren said in an interview with Submission Radio. "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."
When the signing was first announced, Askren was amongst the more outspoken critics of the move, and he says he essentially feels the same way about the UFC bringing Punk in now as he did then.
"Those were my honest thoughts about it, and I think those thoughts don't really change," Askren said. "And that's not really a criticism of CM Punk, that was a criticism of the UFC and what they're doing.
"That being said, CM Punk he had a great opportunity to do something that he wanted to do and it worked out really well for him, and now he gets to compete at something he wants to do. So for him it's all good, but you know my jokes stand and I stand behind those statements still."
Penick's Analysis: It's no surprise that Punk needs more time, but the reports of his progression have at least been promising. Askren's clearly got no ill will towards Punk taking advantage of an opportunity, but I don't think he's wrong in criticizing the UFC's decision to make that signing in the first place, either.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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