The UFC is reportedly in negotiations with CM Punk regarding a fight against Mike Jackson at UFC 225 on June 9, which will be in Punk's hometown of Chicago.
MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani reported Wednesday that the UFC is still working on negotiations and hasn't made a final decision about whether it will add the fight to the card.
As soon as UFC announced a pay-per-view in the Windy City, speculation about Punk's involvement began—speculation that Punk himself fueled on Twitter:
👀🤔 https://t.co/0MX3olVbpM2018-2-4 03:35:55
Although Punk is 39 and was soundly defeated by Mickey Gall in his UFC debut in September 2016, giving him a second fight at UFC 225 makes sense.
Of the 13 PPVs UFC had in 2016, UFC 203 earned the second-highest buyrate for an event without either Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey. Only UFC 200, which included Brock Lesnar, Anderson Silva, Daniel Cormier and Jose Aldo, drew more fans on PPV.
Punk still has some mainstream appeal, especially in Chicago. WWE fans will remember well the reaction he received at Money in the Bank 2011 in Chicago's Allstate Arena.
With Rousey, McGregor and Jon Jones all out of the picture for various reasons, UFC can't afford to pass up would be what would be a sure thing financially.
Jackson might also be a better matchup for Punk than Gall as well. The 32-year-old has fought just once professionally, losing to Gall in one round at UFC Fight Night 82 in February 2016. Fans might be more willing to purchase the PPV if they believe Punk stands a reasonable chance in the Octagon.