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Gleison Tibau May Fight Forever

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  A staple and icon of the lightweight division of the UFC, Gleison Tibau has been around much longer than you may even expect. And like many of our Brazilian favorites, he got his start in local Vale Tudo circuits. His first professional fight was in 1999, and he won it. For the following seven years, he fought in Brazil, Japan and Spain—in 2006 he stepped into the Ultimate Fighting Championship Octagon for the very first time.  It was UFC 65 in Sacramento, and the main card featured championship bouts between Tim Sylvia and Jeff Monson—where Sylvia successfully defended his heavyweight championship belt—and between Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre—where St-Pierre knocked Hughes out in the second round and became the new welterweight champion.  That night in the preliminary card, Gleison Tibau put his skills to the test against the angular Nick Diaz—he lost his debut bout via a punch-driven TKO. But that meant nothing. After all, it was his very first UFC match-up and at welterweight instead of lightweight. And he went on to win his next four fights—three of which were in the UFC against Jason Dent, Jeff Cox and Terry Etim. Throughout his career, he went further on to defeat Rich Clementi, Jeremy Stephens, Josh Neer, Caol Uno, Kurt Pellegrino, Rafaello Oliveira, Rafael dos Anjos—just to name a few.  Most recently, he beat Pat Healy in Atlantic City on UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller. At age 31, Gleison Tibau is one of those fighters with professional records that seem longer than their own lives. Currently, he boasts 14 wins in the lightweight division, which is the most of any fighter in the class. He also currently stands as the one Brazilian fighter with most appearances in the UFC. He’s stepped into the Octagon 22 times.  And it seems that he’s ready for more with very little time to rest in between.  Less than two months after his well-earned victory over Pat Healy, Gleison is already signed up to face Piotr Hallmann in September for UFC Fight Night 51 in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia. This will be his 23rd fight, and Gleison Tibau is ready to beat the Polish fighter in an attempt to keep the ball moving, in order to immediately sign up for the next fight.  If he keeps going like this, Tibau will soon catch up to Tito Ortiz—the man with most UFC appearances, with 27 Ultimate fights.  And Tibau is nowhere near retirement. Tibau is a remnant of a generation of fighters who fought all the damn time. No time in between—these guys would beat each other up and they might even show up to their next fight with scars leftover from the last. And even though he fights and acts like a veteran, Tibau is at the very top of the sport. Think of him a Jeremy Horn, a Dennis Hallman, a Jens Pulver.  A new fighter signing happens often enough for it to be commonplace, but we watch these guys develop, seeing considerable improvement five fights out of their debut. It’s exciting, but guys like Tibau let us glance a bit deeper into the idea of the “Ultimate Fighter,” with a style that is forged in the heat of the ring, and not so much in the shiny mat rooms of a modern gym.   Check out this related story: Bam Bam’s Back, But Is He Ready for Gleison Tibau?

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