The mixed martial arts (MMA) world was set abuzz in a big way at last December’s UFC 181 when it was announced that former WWE champion Phillip ‘C.M. Punk’ Brooks would be making his MMA debut for the UFC.

Despite never having fought a single MMA bout in his career, the ultra-popular Punk was slated to compete at middleweight in 2015.

But, as we know, things in the UFC can change rather quickly.

Talking with Octagon announcers Kenny Florian and Jon Anik on their podcast yesterday (Mon., June 15, 2015) Punk confirmed that his UFC debut indeed may not come until 2016 due to his understandable insistence of coming to the Octagon fully prepared.:

“I think a lot of people are antsy,” said Punk. “There’s people on Twitter saying, ‘Oh, you’re never gonna fight.’ This was just announced in what, November, December? I’ve been training full time for like six months. As bad as I have the itch to get in there, I want to be as prepared as possible. I wouldn’t be upset if it got pushed to 2016.”

Brooks also confirmed he’s had no discussion with UFC brass about an opponent nor date:

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“I’ve had zero talks with [UFC president] Dana White, [CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta, [matchmaker] Joe Silva, anybody, about an opponent, about a date. I’m thankful for that because there’s zero pressure.”

Punk has been honing his craft at Milwaukee’s famed Roufusport, a notoriously rough gym that has a special affinity for striking the skill that he needs most. With many people expecting him to cash in on a big payday, Punk said that getting beat up in training everyday wouldn’t be worth if for just that, so he’s going to make the most of his UFC opportunity:

“I’m also looking at the big picture,” said Punk. “This isn’t a one and done thing for me. I’m not looking to do this just once. Win, lose or draw, this is something I’m training for. I feel like it’d be a super waste of time if I was just training for one fight rather than making a career out of this. Getting beaten up at the gym every day wouldn’t be worth it if I wasn’t looking big picture.

“I’m not saying I’m going to make a title run or anything. I’m looking to maximize my time here. If I wind up fighting in 2016 I’m not going to be upset about it.”

Overall, Punk just doesn’t know when he’s going to make his debut, as he’s been on a sort of MMA crash course ever since his UFC signing was announced. At the end of the day, he doesn’t know when he’ll be fighting and he’s glad. He only wants to be as prepared as possible when he does, and he believes he’s well on his way to accomplishing that goal:

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“I’m obviously trying to cram a ton of knowledge into a short amount of time,” said Punk. “People ask me every day when I’m fighting and the answer is always: ‘I don’t know yet.’ We haven’t even talked about it. The idea was to get as prepared as I possibly can.

“I’m learning a lot every day. I hear people saying training for a fight is harder than the actual fight. If that’s true then once I step in the Octagon I will have no problem whatsoever.”

Many have pegged Punk’s UFC defection as a money grab or a publicity stunt where he will most likely lose one fight while collecting a huge paycheck. That remains to be seen, but it looks like fans might have to wait until 2016 to find out. With so much high-quality MMA from actual professional fighters taking place in 2015, do you even care anymore?

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Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports