With court case behind him, CM Punk ready for UFC 225

CM Punk: I'm going to fight again after UFC 225 (1:47)

CM Punk tells Brett Okamoto that he's focused 100% on winning at UFC 225 against Mike Jackson and regardless of outcome, he'll want to fight again. (1:47)

CHICAGO -- For a UFC athlete, the Tuesday of fight week usually consists of checking in to a host hotel, signing event posters and recording weight. Maybe a handful of phone interviews. These types of things.

For CM Punk (0-1), the former WWE star who will fight Mike Jackson at UFC 225 on Saturday at United Center, Tuesday was a little different.

Punk, whose birth name is Phil Brooks, was found not liable in a defamation case on Tuesday. The civil lawsuit was filed by WWE physician Dr. Chris Amann, who sought close to $4 million in damages for negative comments Punk made about him in 2014.

Punk, flanked by his wife and former WWE star AJ Lee, birth name April Mendez, broke down in tears as the jury's verdict was read.

"I don't know if I actually entertained what would happen [if I lost the case]," Punk told ESPN. "I knew, literally, it was a point where, 'This is the rest of my life. This decides the course of the rest of my life.'"

It all makes for incredible circumstances to prepare for a fight under.

The final preparations of his camp took place in Chicago, rather than in Milwaukee, where he trains under head coach Duke Roufus. He testified in his own trial last Friday, scheduling workouts around court appearances.

"I still trained twice a day, I just wasn't hitting pads and grappling with people," Punk said. "The blessing is the hard work is done. I kind of just got to show up and work out.

"With just me, I find it brings me peace. I'm a lot less critical. When I'm working with people, I'm more worried about mechanical things and what I'm doing wrong."

The trial impacted Punk's weight cut, as under normal conditions he would be water loading on Tuesday -- flooding his body with fluids leading up to the actual cut. He didn't do that during the trial, because the judge probably wouldn't have appreciated constant restroom breaks.

And, of course, there's emotional stress. Punk already has a lot to prove. The story of the UFC signing him, despite his lack of MMA experience, in 2014 is well known. So is the result of his debut in 2016 -- a one-sided submission loss to Mickey Gall.

Add court appearances and a potentially life-changing verdict, and it could be a draining experience before a fight.

"Bizarrely, it's made me more focused," Punk said. "The only time I could not think about this case and not be in court was when I had to do something like run sprints, bag work, shadowboxing. It was more of a release. It made me kind of utilize every hour of every day.

"I knew at the beginning of this year, we were probably supposed to go to trial in May. Unfortunately, and I don't think it's a coincidence, it kept getting delayed. Motions they filed put it off I think, to purposefully make it bleed into this week. That's who they are. It's just another hurdle in the race."

By the end of Tuesday, Punk, a lifelong Cubs fan, was in 'The Friendly Confines' of Wrigley Field, leading Chicago in 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game.' It was a UFC scheduled appearance, to promote his fight this weekend.

It will go down as one of the most unique Tuesdays for a UFC fight week. And Punk still has media functions, a weigh-in and the fight itself to go.

He'll be asked a lot in the next few days about his career, where he's been since his loss in 2016 and how much he's improved. But nothing will compare to the experience he dealt with to kick off the week.

"It hasn't sunk in yet, and probably won't for a while," said Punk, on Tuesday evening. "It's been bizarre, super emotional. 'Roller coaster' is a cliche, but that's literally what it's been. Up and down. And now I'm at a Cubs game. It's wild."