More than most professional wrestlers, WWE Champion CM Punk definitely knows a thing or two about mixed martial arts.
That's why when UFC on Fox 6 goes down in the Chicago, the hometown of the "Straight Edge Superstar," Punk be watching the MMA news circuit with keen interest as he makes his own preparations for the 2013 Royal Rumble.
MMA Fighting caught up with Punk to pick the champion's brain about a few hot issues in the MMA world, including his predictions for Saturday's card, the main event at UFC 158 and a few other fighters that he's been watching.
Never one to shy away from talking about superfights, CM Punk cited Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz as the one thing that's interested him most in MMA recently. However, he doesn't think the Stockton bad boy will pull off an upset:
I'm looking forward to GSP [and] Nick Diaz. Can Diaz hang with [St-Pierre]? Sure. Can he beat him? I don't know. I definitely think he can hang. I always think GSP's problem is—when's the last time he finished a guy? That was a long time ago.
I'm a Carlos Condit fan. That's why I'm looking forward to that PPV, too. I think Rory MacDonald's nuts. He's got this personal beef with Condit for no reason. 'Just because he beat him.
For UFC on Fox 6, Punk noted that Quinton Jackson would most likely lose his co-main event fight due to his developing, habitual weakness to wrestling:
Both [Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson] are ridiculously fast. I know they're trying to promote that Dodson has the knockout power that a lot of flyweights don't have, so it's going to be interesting to see. I like Demetrious [to win].
Rampage has always been kind of wacky. I think Rampage is going to want to stand, so Glover's going to try to win. So, that means Glover's going take him down. I'll pick Glover.
Punk additionally singled out Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone as the match he's most excited about, breaking down their strengths and recent bouts.
Although Cerrone lost in dramatic fashion to Nate Diaz not long ago, Punk believes that "Cowboy" is simply too strong a fighter to pick against going into this title eliminator:
That's an interesting fight. I don't think there's a harder one to take a bet on. This is one that I wish was five rounds, because I don't think three's enough. I don't see either guy finishing any other guys. When Cerrone fought Nate Diaz, it was a completely different Donald Cerrone. It was like he kinda got tooled.
But then [Cerrone] KOs Melvin Guillard... and Pettis, he's a Milwaukee boy, so that's close to Chicago. I almost don't want to bet against him. [It's] strictly a gut feeling, but [I pick] Cerrone.
CM Punk also showed hometown solidarity by predicting Chicago-born Ricardo Lamas to beat Eric Koch, although he admitted not knowing too much about either featherweight.
For his part, CM Punk will be a longshot to win his own bout on Sunday, as he meets Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a singles match for the WWE Championship.
This will be the first time that The Rock has competed for a championship belt in World Wrestling Entertainment since 2002, when lost the title to Brock Lesnar, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion and Undisputed WWE Champion.
For CM Punk, this match will also put one of his most prized career records at stake, as his WWE Championship reign stands as the sixth-longest in the company's history. In the last 25 years alone, Punk has retained the title for 433 days, an accomplishment that he'll seek to continue building by defeating The Rock.