In a 37-minute sit-down interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, former WWE champion CM Punk said that he never prepared so hard in his life for something that potentially can only go as far as 15 minutes.
One thing that was missing from his WWE days is the lack of promos, or pipe bombs, as Helwani explained, leading up to this fight. Punk said that he does not feel the need to force an emotional response regarding his opponent as he doesn’t hate him or anything like that so there’s no emotional connection so to speak.
Helwani brought up the fact that the fight is in Cleveland, the same arena where Punk walked out of WWE back in 2014 the night after the Royal Rumble. Punk said that he hasn’t been to Cleveland since then and didn’t really think about it but it’s “poetic” that he’s having his first UFC fight in the same arena.
Asked if he feels there’s something wrong with his debut being in Cleveland, Punk said that him leaving WWE in Cleveland wasn’t a bad thing so he can’t say it’s a total curse as he’s happier and in a better place. He went over some of the stuff that happened to him in Cleveland while with WWE, including his planned debut with Mickie James that never happened and was sent back to developmental, and Bob Holly punching him really hard in the eye in the same arena. Punk failed to mention the Unforgiven pay-per-view in 2008 when Orton attacked Punk backstage, forcing him to vacate the World Heavyweight title.
When talking about Bob Holly, Punk said that the business needs more people like him right now as there’s no one in the locker room that is an enforcer. Punk mentioned that there are a lot of “slobs” in the WWE and no one cleans up after themselves and then recounted a story about Eddie Guerrero giving instructions to different people, including himself, to clean up the locker room before leaving. “But I’m not there anymore, so who gives a shit?” Punk then bluntly said.
CM Punk refused to disclose how much he weighs and said it’s not going so well at the moment. “It’s not fun,” he said about the weight cut and never even did a practice weight cut before. He has to hit the 171lbs mark, a weight that he hasn’t had since he was at high school.
When asked what song he’s coming out to, Punk said that he thought he had a pick but after listening to a few on his iPod in rotation he’s unsure again. He said there’s a top 3 and he came out to a lot of awesome songs in his pro wrestling career. Asked if Cult of Personality is still on the table, Punk said yes and Helwani said that the fans would go insane if he used that one. Punk was not sure about the statement and while he appreciates all the fans, he’s not worried this time if they boo or cheer although Cleveland historically treated him really well over the years.
Briefly touching on the WWE lawsuit against him, Punk said it’s very hard to look towards the future when you’re forced to stare at the past and people keep trying to drag you back. “Some people won’t let you go,” he said, mentioning the “silly bank-rolled lawsuit” which is designed for him to spend money. He said the lawsuit has been a source of his stress and he has his good days and bad days.
Punk finished by saying that he doesn’t think the WWE management will be watching as they made it clear to him they’re not fans of MMA.
You can watch the interview below.