Cain Velasquez, left, will face Junior Dos Santos in a UFC bout on Dec. 29.… (Jason Redmond / Associated…)
He's had more than a minute to think about his minute of decline.
Nearly a year ago, Cain Velasquez saw the fulfillment of his lifetime of fighting dashed in an instant by the massive punching power of Junior Dos Santos.
Velasquez battled from the farmlands of Central California to become an Arizona State wrestler, and ultimately defeated pro wrestling legend Brock Lesnar to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship's heavyweight title.
His first defense was the UFC’s highly publicized debut bout on Fox, the only fight of the night.
It was over in 64 seconds, and Dos Santos was the new champion.
"You can have the best training camp ever, get hit once and it's all over," Velasquez told The Times. "That’s the name of the game. That's what makes fighting. It stinks.
"I always had it in my head in seeing other guys knocked out -- 'This may happen to you.' All you can do is learn and move on. I know now. You have a game plan. Don’t wait around. Go execute it right away."
That's the plan for Dec. 29, when the 30-year-old Velasquez (10-1) gets his rematch against Brazil's Dos Santos (15-1) in the main event at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Tickets for the fight go on sale Friday.
Velasquez is counting the minutes.
He's fought once since the Dos Santos loss, overwhelming another 6-foot-4 Brazilian, Antonio Silva, by savagely pounding the bloodied Silva on the floor for a first-round technical knockout.
"Things have been good, I’ve had a solid month of hard training," Velasquez said. "I’ve had more motivation than I've ever had, pushing myself harder to get the belt back."
The question for Velasquez is his chin. He knows you can't train to improve your ability to take a big punch.
"It's either a good chin, not good, or really not good," Velasquez said. "So you train your defense, get yourself in the best shape possible to move around.
"I've been hit with some good shots before. The best I ever got hit was by Junior. I just can't get hit clean like that."
Velasquez would obviously like to treat Dos Santos as he did Silva, get him to the canvas and attack with his wrestling skill and his own powerful punches.
"Losing happens, we all know we're not going to be a champion forever," Velasquez said. "I had a bad night. I regret maybe rushing back from my injury against Brock," a torn rotator cuff that required surgery. "That takes a lot out of you. You need to work yourself back from that slowly."
He's healthy now, and his Dec. 29 fight is scheduled for five rounds.
Or a minute-plus.
"Heavyweight title fights don't last five rounds," Velasquez said. "Big guys. Those small gloves. Anybody can get knocked out at any time."