Getting back in action just 41 days after a split-decision victory over Norman Parke in Boston, Gleison Tibau meets Tony Ferguson in the opening bout of UFC 184 pay-per-view card Saturday night in Los Angeles, and wants to entertain the crowd.
Riding a three-fight winning streak, Tibau looks to finish a fight for the first time since a second-round submission over John Cholish in 2013, and sees the ground game as the best avenue to accomplish the feat against Ferguson.
"That’s what I’m counting on. My grappling will be primordial in this fight. I want to use that on Saturday," Tibau told MMAFighting.com. "It’s a great opportunity for me, especially taking him down and working on top. He’s very dangerous on the feet, but I also believe in my evolution as a striker to be able to fight him standing. This evolution gives me more confidence to use my grappling without worrying about my opponent already expecting me to go for takedowns.
"He’s a tough guy, like the other three I recently fought in the UFC. There are no easy fights in the UFC. The lightweight division is complicated, lots of tough fighters. I’m confident on my game plan and I will win one more."
The Brazilian lightweight, who went the distance 16 times in 24 UFC bouts, understands when fans criticize his lack of finishes inside the Octagon. However, Tibau says he’s doing his best to win before the final bell.
"Critics don’t bother me, but I know I have to win more fights by submission or knockout," he said. "Fans have to understand that that’s the consequence of the fight, though. I’m fighting at the highest level, everybody knows what the other [fighter] is capable of doing so it’s hard to surprise your opponent. In my last couple of fights, I rocked and knocked down my opponents, but couldn’t knock them out. It happens. I always try to put on a show for the fans, but it’s not possible to do it all the time."
The American Top Team veteran didn’t have much time to prepare for UFC 184, as he stepped up on short notice to replace injured Yancy Medeiros to stand in against Ferguson. That won’t be an issue, he says.
"My training camp was short but great," Tibau said. "I never ran away from a fight and it wouldn’t be different this time. I don’t do anything crazy, but I feel prepared to win this fight.
"I’m physically and mentally well, and that’s what matters," he continued. "You can’t get a fight when you’re in a bad shape or hurt, things like that. I’m in the best shape and moment of my career, happy with my work. That helps me to be always ready to fight."
Heading into his 25th UFC bout, Tibau will try to make it four victories in a row for the first time in that run. He looks at Tito Ortiz’s record for most fights in the Octagon as another goal to reach.
"I’m breaking all my personal records in the UFC, and all I want now is my longest winning streak. I’m even more motivated because of this," he said. "I have a goal of becoming the fighter with most UFC fights, but I'm always respecting my body. I’m fighting for the second time in 2015 and we’re only in the second month of the year, but I won’t do that constantly. After this fight, I will have two more fights to do to reach Tito Ortiz and three more to surpass him and become the fighter with most bouts in the UFC. I’m happy with that, and I want to reach that goal this year."