Ultrasonic testing is a non-destructive approach commonly used to evaluate concrete structures. A challenge with concrete is that it is heterogeneous, which causes multiple wave scattering resulting in longer and more complex wave paths. The recorded ultrasonic waveform can be divided into two portions: the coherent (or early) and the diffuse (or Coda) portion. While conventional methods only use the coherent portion, e.g. the first wave arrival to determine the wave velocity, we are interested in the entire waveform, i.e. until the wave amplitude is completely dampened out. The objective of this study was to determine what portion of the signal is most sensitive to applied stress and the associated formation and propagation of cracks. For this purpose, the squared Pearson correlation coefficient, R<sup>2</sup> was used, which provides a measure for the strength of the linear relationship (or similarity) between a reference waveform under no stress and a waveform recorded at a certain level of applied stress. Additionally, a signal energy-based filter was developed and used to detect signals that captured acoustic emissions generated during the loading process. The experimental work for this study consisted of an active monitoring approach by employing a pitch-catch setup with two ultrasonic transducers, one transmitter and one receiver, that were attached to (nullset) 152 x 305 mm concrete cylinder specimens, which were loaded monotonically to failure. Our results show that applied stress correlates well with the R<sup>2 </sup>with remarkable sensitivity to small applied stresses. Also, the relationship between R<sup>2</sup> and applied stress is linear for an applied stress that is less than 50% of the ultimate stress.