With the UFC rolling into Chicago on Saturday night (Jan. 26, 2013), Ariel Helwani made sure to stop by to have a chat with current WWE Champion CM Punk just days before he defends his title against The Rock in what could prove to be the biggest match of the year outside WrestleMania at the Royal Rumble event on Sunday night in Phoenix, Arizona.
Much of the interview is spent talking about mixed martial arts and Punk's thoughts on it but Helwani also asked some pointed pro wrestling questions that Punk gives interesting answers to.
Such as, who's better between himself and "The Great One."
"Yeah, I think.. you know, people ask that question a lot like the whole best in the world thing, I call myself the best in the world. I really think if I didn't think that, I wouldn't do this anymore. I think if anybody, pro wrestling or fight wise, doesn't think... you can't step into the ring or cage with somebody and think 'man, this guy's really better than me,' because you've already lost. Obviously my sport is a little different than MMA, but my objective is to not only be better than the guy I'm wrestling but be better than everybody else on the card. Steal the show, so to speak, be the most entertaining thing, be the one thing people talk about when they leave. You know, he hasn't wrestled in a year and I wrestle four days a week. I think whereas I have my work cut out for me, so does he."
So is Punk better than Rock used to be in his prime?
"I think it's apples and oranges, in my opinion. I think I take this more seriously than he does or ever has and that's not an insult, I'm just more of like a purist. I know different styles and I've wrestled all around the world and he's been a WWE guy. Within that mold, within being a WWE guy, I think he's one of the best of all time. But you take him out of his comfort zone... I'm not saying he knows less than I do. I'm trying to vocalize this the right way -- I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't think I was better than him."
Is Rock bringing the same heat as Punk in the ring during this feud?
"I think regardless of who I'm in the ring with, I don't wrestle down or talk down, you know what I mean? I always force people to come up, whether it's Cena or whether it's Ryback. I'm never going to dumb myself down or try to wrestle a certain style. You either sink or you swim, you either get in the ring with me and keep up or you don't. I think a lot of guys like that, I think John Cena's one of them. I haven't wrestled The Rock but I've been in the ring with him and done the promo thing and I like what we've done so far."