Fightin' Words

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Cain Velasquez hated life without UFC title

UFC fighter Cain Velasquez rests during a media

UFC fighter Cain Velasquez rests during a media day workout at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. (Oct. 10, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

In the second fight, Cain Velasquez became the first fighter in UFC history to connect on more than 100 significant strikes and stick 10 or more takedowns in the same bout.

That says something about the skills of heavyweight champion Velasquez -- but it also shows the ability of Junior Dos Santos to take a punch and keep coming forward for more.

“I wasn't looking for the finish," Velasquez told Newsday at a UFC event in Manhattan this summer. "It’s a thing of just keep doing what I’m doing. Mentally, physically, that's what I have going in my head, going all the time, that this fight is gonna a five-round fight, a five-round war. That fight was no different. If I'm going to deep waters, then I'm going. I have to keep that same pace. I have to keep the pressure on. If I don't finish him, I don't finish him, but I'm gonna keep winning until it’s done.”

Velasquez did win that fight last December by unanimous decision (in the true sense of that adjective, not the connotative one saved for judging fights).

The third meeting is Saturday at UFC 166, with both Velasquez and Dos Santos each holding a win over each other. Neither has successfully defended his title against the other.

What happens Saturday is dependent upon the two behemoths in the cage that night.

What happened in those first two fights, though, has helped shape Velasquez's mindset for this camp.

“I learned more from the second one," Velasquez said about the night he won the title back from Dos Santos. "I think the first one was kind of a surreal feeling. And going into the next fight, it felt a little different. Losing it, it’s a time in my life when I just hated it. I was missing something in my life. When I got it back a second time, now I knew this was a spot where I want to be. I feel comfortable here. This is where I want to be. This is what I'm gonna work hard for, to keep it.”

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