It was early on in the biggest bout of his career, but UFC star Alex Volkanovski could already feel Chad Mendes breaking.
It was the American's second bout after returning from a four-year drug suspension and the three-time featherweight title contender was eyeing a quick return to the top.
The Aussie was supposed to be a stepping stone but he had other ideas.
"I saw him folding as early as the first round," Volknovski said.
"The pressure was there and once I started throwing things at him and standing in front of him he had to find answers in his head and I could see he was puzzled by that.
"It's not just physically draining, it's mentally draining when I'm on front of you like that. I'd land a jab or stop a takedown, block a shot and come straight back at him, and I could see it in his face.
"In the second round I picked up the pace. He caught me with a shot but that's because I was right there and I put the pressure straight back on him.
"I knew he was done there and then and that's when I really put it on him."
Mendes ultimately succumbed to a second-round barrage and promptly announced his retirement from the sport.
It's an illustration of the threat the Shellharbour product poses to Brazilian great Jose Aldo at UFC 237 in Rio next month.
It's not so much a step up for Volkanovski as a leap against the man most judges consider the best UFC featherweight of all time - in his own backyard no less.
The stakes could only be one rung higher, with the winner almost certain to fight for the featherweight gold in their next bout.
It will also be the penultimate fight of Aldo's career, with the Brazilian legend stating plans to retire at the conclusion of his current UFC contract.
Volkanovski says that - as Chad Mendes painfully learned - is not a healthy mentality when sharing the the cage with him.
"You're hearing people say he's looking at retiring soon and that's not the right mindset to have if you've got me standing across the octagon from you. I'll drown you real quick in there," Volkanovski said.
"He's one of the best to ever do it in the featherweight division, he's a legend, he's done a lot, but the game's changing and I'm going to throw things at him that he hasn't dealt with before.
"The pressure's going to be there and it's going to be a very hard, tough fight. When I bring that that suffocating pressure, I'll have you gasping for air and looking for a way out."
The bout will take place in front of a famously raucous pro-Aldo crowd in a country many consider the genuine home of the sport.
It's a world away from Windang but Volkanovski insists he'll be unfazed.
"That's just how I am. People are saying this crowd's going to be crazy and what not and, yeah when I'm walking out I might hear it a little bit, but I can zone out on that stuff," he said.
"I just focus on my walk and once I'm in there I'll focus on that job that needs to be done. I don't see or hear anything else. It's a tunnel focus that I have.
"I know it's Jose Aldo, I'll see a poster with me and him standing next to each other and think 'how cool's that' but once he's across the octagon he's just another body that I'm ready to do my thing to."