When Cain Velasquez stepped inside the Octagon this past December to meet Junior dos Santos, he never expected a 25-minute war.

However, Velasquez picked dos Santos apart for five rounds, securing his second UFC heavyweight title.

“He’s a tough guy. It was a long fight, but I honestly did not think it would last all that (long),” said Velasquez, during a recent interview with Tatame. “I gave everything I could early on and then I was tired. Still, I could not finish him or knock him out.”

Dos Santos quickly made a plea for a rematch, as he had earned a win over Velasquez in 2011 to win the UFC heavyweight title. Alistair Overeem, the projected No. 1 contender before he was defeated by Antonio Silva, has caused a cloud to form over the next challenger.

“I think he needs to make another fight before having another shot at the title,” Velasquez said. “Basically, that’s what happened to me. I lost to him the first fight and I retraced my path to regain the belt. I think the same has to happen with him.”

After falling to dos Santos, Velasquez stopped Silva to cement his status as the top contender to the belt.

Photo credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting