Burned out by the schedule and frustrated with his current booking, CM Punk decided to walk away from WWE following his elimination by Corporate Kane in the 2014 Royal Rumble match. Over the years, CM Punk has been very vocal about the way WWE booked him, and how he never main-evented a WrestleMania. In fact, CM Punk felt that although he had a prominent main-event level match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29, he was still unhappy that he was never able to close the show.
Since his departure, CM Punk has not looked back, and is now focused on his MMA career. Although he suffered a devastating first-round submission loss against Mickey Gall at UFC 203, he vowed not to let that derail his MMA career.
On a recent episode of the Beyond the Fight podcast, Chael Sonnen defended CM Punk in his decision to return to UFC.
"I've always liked the CM Punk story, and I've always thought the story was mistold," said Sonnen. "It was always kind of a perception that you were getting a big-named guy coming over, who was going to suck all the air out of the room. Just because he's a big-named guy, he doesn't deserve it. In CM Punk's case, he was willing to put it on the line. He committed fully and immersed himself to this goal in the sport of MMA. And that was a pretty cool and brave thing to do. He went out there, way over his head, and tried. And when it didn't go his way, he said 'I want to try again.'
"He didn't go back to the fake wrestling; he didn't go do any of that stuff. He could have. (Instead), he said 'I want to try that again,' continued to immerse himself, continued to sacrifice, and now he's gonna take off his shirt in his hometown and walk out there. That is the story. It's not the other way around that this big star came over and he's leaving with all the money and all the attention and filling up the main card, taking spots and opportunities away from other people. It's not that."
Punk is scheduled to face Mike Jackson – who is also 0-1 after losing to Mickey Gall – in Chicago at UFC 225 on June 9.