On August 31, Gleison Tibau will make UFC history at UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His bout with Jamie Varner will mark Tibau’s 20th outing in the octagon, a distinction only a dozen fighters before him have accomplished. In addition, the 30 year old fighter will become the first Brazilian, as well as the youngest ever to do so.
“I’m very excited about having my 20th fight in the UFC, which is the best MMA organization in the world,” Tibau said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. “I’ve been working for them for seven years now. And I’m looking forward to facing Jamie Varner, who is a great fighter going back to the WEC. This will be a great fight.”
In those 19 prior fights, Tibau has racked up wins against fighters like Caol Uno, Kurt Pellegrino, and Rich Clementi, and has managed to maintain a 12-7 record in the promotion.
Tibau was first signed to the UFC in 2006, and has never been cut from the organization. Despite never even participating in a title fight, Tibau has managed to maintain his spot in the UFC, a feat he attributes to his ability to evolve and innovate.
“I always seek to innovate,” he explained. “In the UFC, if you don’t innovate, you’ll be left behind since new talent is always being hired. You can even learn something different by training with young talent. One should never get comfortable. It’s necessary to always evolve in our areas of weakness.”
“My official record shows 36 fights, but growing up in the Brazilian northeast, I had several unsanctioned fights, often bare-knuckled,” he continued. “I’ve fought over 50 times. Since that time I always sought to evolve. Everyday something new and useful can be learned and be applied at fight time.”
Tibau’s next challenge will be against the former WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner. Varner currently holds a 21-7 record overall, going 2-1 since he joined the UFC in 2012. The fight will be the featured match on the UFC 164 preliminary card, set to air on FOX Sports 1 ahead of the PPV event.
“I envision I great victory,” Tibau said of the match up. “[I’ve] trained everywhere, and I’m ready for anything. It can be standing, wrestling or on the ground. I see a great fight, a great victory and my arm raised at the end. That’s what I see.”
“I hope it’s a great fight because I plan for my 20th fight to be a golden moment in my career,” the 36-9 fighter concluded.
Win or lose though, Tibau will have accomplished something very few other UFC competitors have. He’ll be joining an extremely distinctive list of athletes including hall of famers Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, B.J. Penn, and Matt Hughes.