Born in the state of Rio Grande do Norte in the northeast corner of Brazil, Gleison Tibau (Pictures) is considered one of the best mixed martial artists ever produced in the region.
Tuesday evening at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., Tibau faces Jeff Cox in search of his second win in three fights with the UFC.
"I've been training too much," Tibau said directly from Brazil, where he prepared for the last three months for this fight. "My training has been great and I'm getting better and better day after day, in order to reach my goal: victory."
Tibau, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Nova União/Kimura who recently moved to American Top Team, has watched videos of Cox and said he knows what to expect.
"He's a tough guy," Tibau said of Cox, who like the Brazilian is also a recent convert from 170 to 155 pounds. "But I'm sure I can beat him. I'm confident and I'm ready to impose my game."
Willing to become one of the greatest names among the lightweights, Tibau has been getting used to fighting at the weight and points to UFC champion Sean Sherk (Pictures) as his biggest opponent.
"My main problem is to make the weight," Tibau said. "But I can handle it better now. I want to conquer the belt in this category, so I believe the champion, Sean Sherk (Pictures), is the biggest name of this class."
Tibau said he expects to beat Cox and then be requested as one of the next opponents for the UFC lightweight championship belt.
"I think this victory over Cox would take my career into another level in the UFC," he predicted. "Once I win my fight, doing a good show, I get closer to the belt."
Tibau also admitted to paying attention to other fighters at 155, knowing there is a chance he might meet them down the road.
On June 23 in Las Vegas Jens Pulver (Pictures) and B.J. Penn (Pictures) step into the Octagon in a rematch of a classic lightweight fight. The Brazilian didn't hide his preference for the bout, which headlines The Ultimate Fighter 5 finale. "I think this is gonna be a great fight, but I bet B.J. Penn (Pictures) might win," he said.
During his preparation for the UFC, Tibau won quickly in the main event of the Nordeste Combat Championship in Natal, Brazil on May 9 against Spain's Antonio Fernandes.
"I didn't know very much about that guy," Tibau said. "But I trained very much for that fight, knocking him out with a flying knee in 23 seconds. It was a quick fight, defined by a precise hit."
Another great victory like the one he scored in Natal would help Tibau keep his momentum as he continues to try and conquer the UFC lightweight division.
"I assure my fans they will watch a show," he promised. "I will look to submit him in the first round."