Brock Lesnar's retirement opens door for CM Punk return to UFC

Many UFC fans don’t usually like to hear about star power.

Part of the draw of the sport is unknown fighters down the card can often steal the show and make a night memorable.

But there’s no denying the numbers, and the sport needs big names to sell pay-per-view packages to casual sports fans.

As one big name and proven pay-per-view performer confirmed his exit from the sport on Tuesday, another could benefit from his departure.

Brock Lesnar, who would have been banned until at least July regardless because of doping, has told UFC that he’s done with mixed martial arts, according to multiple media reports.

So many of the sport’s stars are facing uncertainty about their UFC futures — Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre, among them — so the sport might need a jolt as it looks ahead to a 2017 barren of mainstream star power.

That brings to mind a possible second chance for former WWE star CM Punk.

Punk, or Phillip Brooks, retired from the WWE in 2014 and took up fighting.

After a couple delays, Punk eventually debuted on September 10, 2016, falling in a lackluster performance against Mickey Gall. Punk was defeated via submission in 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

After the match, Dana White said Punk probably needed some seasoning before returning to the UFC.

Punk, who is from Chicago, told FOX Sports that he’s been hounding White for hopes of another shot.

“I am working on it feverishly,” Punk said then. “I’m throwing names at Dana (White), opponents, dates. I don’t know if he’s waiting for a Chicago show or what the deal is but if it doesn’t happen in the UFC, it will happen somewhere else.

“I’m dedicated to fighting and training. We’ll get there.”

While White refuted the notion right after Punk’s rough showing last fall, the UFC landscape has changed since then.

Like it or on, the sport might need a return match for the outsider.

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