Gleison Tibau wants ‘big opportunities’ after he finishes Michael Johnson at UFC 168

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Gleison Tibau will enter the Octagon for the fourth time in 2013, and he wants a win to move forward in the lightweight division.

Coming off back-to-back wins over Jamie Varner and John Cholish in the UFC, Tibau faces off Michael Johnson at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, and he plans to finish "The Manace" in Las Vegas to get closer to his dream: a shot at the lightweight championship.

"I’m very happy to be able to fight four times this year," Tibau told "I’m training non-stop since January so that’s great to help me evolve and get closer to my goal, which is a shot at the title."

Tibau is 2-1 in 2013, with his lone loss being a decision to Evan Dunham at UFC 156, and he is confident that Johnson’s style is perfect for him to increase his win streak.

"Michael Johnson is a great match-up for me," he said. "I’m really confident that, with my wrestling and jiu-jitsu, I’ll be able to do a great fight and, who knows, get the ‘Submission of the Night’ bonus."

Johnson is coming off a decision win over Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 26 last August, and it wasn’t the type of fight the Brazilian was expecting to face next.

"He did a great fight with Joe Lauzon, beat his ass, so the UFC now gave me as his next opponent," he said. "I was surprised, but happy that I have another opportunity to fight this year.

"My background is jiu-jitsu, but I’m also training my stand-up game a lot recently. I will attack him in all areas. If he doesn’t pay attention, I might finish him standing, but my goal is to take the fight to the ground and submit him. I’ll finish the fight, no matter what."

Ready for his 21st fight under the UFC banner, Tibau finally hired a press agent to work before and after his fights, and he believes that will even help him get a shot at the title in the future.

"I feel that I have got much more attention from the media since I started it," he said. "I’ve never done that before, and now fans in Brazil and around the world know me better. I believe that it could even help me get a shot at the title faster.

"UFC likes fighters that know how to promote themselves, get more attention from the fans and media. I believe that they’re happy with that, and I’m sure I’ll get big opportunities after this fight. I want big fights next to get to the top of this division."

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