Like it or not, we all came to see him do it again.
CM Punk, that is.
We came to see him cast off the shackles of scripted combat for a second time, following up on his exit from professional wrestling and 2016 MMA debut—a loss, and a memorable one at that—in a hometown tilt against Mike "The Truth" Jackson.
And didn't he go out there and give us exactly what we expected.
Kicking off the pay-per-view portion of UFC 225 in Chicago, Punk took to the cage and dropped to 0-2 in his new career. He was game, incredibly so in fact, but he was simply inadequate.
He didn't have the skill.
He didn't have the fight intellect.
He didn't have much of anything.
That's not to say Punk isn't admirable. He is in his own way. It's not a coincidence that he's strutted to the ring for years while "Cult of Personality" blares, and he continues to do so in MMA. Even Joe Rogan, who's made his negative feelings on Punk known, gushed over his gumption during the broadcast.
Unfortunately, phrases like "he has heart, man" or "he is trying" aren't what Punk came for. He came for a win or at least to show he belonged in the UFC, and he didn't get either.
Instead, he got a 15-minute lesson in why a busted and broken 39-year-old former pro wrestler can't cut it against the best mixed martial artists alive. Such an individual can't even cut it against a fellow winless fighter with a somewhat modest combat sports background of his own.
Jackson mopped Punk for the duration of the bout, calmly picking him apart with simple combinations and fending off whatever offense the former WWE champion managed.
The greatest challenge Jackson appeared to have was in the clinch, where Punk alternated between resting and attempting to bully his man, and it's where he did have spurts of success.
But overall, the fight was a clear indicator of one major thing: As it stands, Punk is little more than a sideshow for the UFC. And now, with two convincing losses on his resume, he might not even be a sideshow for it any longer.
The promotion tepidly supported the second Punk fight from the outset, putting it on pay-per-view but only offering it at all after pondering whether it even wanted to be in business with someone so obviously underqualified.
Now, with the bloom off the rose, what more is there to gain by keeping him around? There is no doubt he's insufficient for this level of athletic pursuit, and the loss of credibility the UFC suffers for rostering him is no longer worth the diminishing potential cash returns from people willing to pay to see him fight.
Punk has done all he can for the UFC, and the UFC has done all it can for Punk.
This is not to eulogize his career or otherwise declare it to be at its conclusion. If he wishes to continue doing this, no one should tell him he can't. He's been on a martial arts journey over the past four years, and if he desires to keep it going in a regional promotion or in Bellator—where winnable fights and good money might still be readily available to him—then he should.
The UFC 225 results speak for themselves, though: The CM Punk experiment has to end now for the world's top MMA promotion.