On Tuesday, the UFC removed Punk (0-1) from its "active" online roster list and dubbed him a "former fighter." Shortly thereafter, MMA Junkie confirmed via a person with knowledge of the change that Punk opted out of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool at the start of 2021. If he decides to return to MMA, it is not clear if the UFC will retain his rights.
Punk, 42 years old, left pro-wrestling in 2014 as one the most loved performers in the industry. On Aug. 20, he returned for the first time in seven years and received a thunderous ovation from the AEW crowd in his hometown of Chicago.
Punk signed with UFC in December 2014. Punk made his MMA debut in September 2016 at UFC 203 after nearly two years of training with Duke Roufus at Roufusport. He lost to Mickey Gall by first-round submission.
Punk was back in the cage to face Mike "The Truth", Jackson at UFC 225. He lost a unanimous decision. However, the result was later overturned to a no contest after Jackson tested positive for marijuana.
Although Punk did not officially announce his retirement from MMA in any way, neither he nor Dana White, the UFC president, indicated that a third fight was on the cards. Punk was still in the USADA testing pool until the end of 2020.
Punk has served as a color commentator for Cage Fury Fighting Championship, which streams its events on UFC Fight Pass, since late 2018 - a gig he plans to continue even as an AEW wrestler.