In a brief interview with TMZ, CM Punk was asked about tonight’s boxing match between Jake Paul and former UFC star Ben Askren. There have been many questions about Askren and his ability to box with Paul, coming off hip replacement surgery. But while Punk acknowledges Askren “won’t be Muhammed Ali in there”, he does believe people are selling Askren short.
“It’s easy to sit on your couch and say that Ben isn’t a striker,” Punk said. “I know a lot of people are counting him out, but I don’t think anybody should be surprised if he wins.”
Punk is familiar with Askren and his abilities. The former WWE Champion once trained with Askren at Roufusport MMA Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during his brief UFC career. Askren was very vocal in his support for Punk after he signed with UFC and first began training in 2015.
A former Bellator and ONE Welterweight Champion, Askren joined UFC in 2018. Known for his trash talking, Askren defeated Robbie Lawler in his first fight before being knocked out in five seconds by Jorge Masvidal in at UFC 239. He retired shortly after losing to Demian Maia at UFC on ESPN+ 20 before later agreeing to face Paul in a boxing match after a back and forth exchange on Twitter.
Paul, a YouTube personality with a 3-0 amateur record, briefly appeared on WWE Smackdown recently in the buildup to his brother, Logan Paul, appearing at WrestleMania 37. Askren himself has teased getting into wrestling, recently revealing he made a visit to the WWE Performance Center.