The incredibly jacked Gleison Tibau is typically the most muscular man in any lightweight bout. When he met former middleweight Francisco Trinaldo at UFC 153, the long-time UFC vet appeared undersized for the first time in his lightweight career.
The American Top Team member was able to overcome the size disadvantage and would score several takedowns en route to a unanimous-decision victory. Tibau has gone 8-3 in his most recent appearances, with two of those losses coming via controversial decisions.
Victories over the likes of Jeremy Stephens and Rafael dos Anjos show that his well-rounded attack could soon earn him a place near the top of the stacked lightweight division.
Here are five potential fights for Tibau to take next.
Jacob "Christmas" Volkmann is a grappling monster who has smothered or submitted all but one opponent he has faced since dropping down from welterweight.
Volkmann earned a step up in competition by quickly submitting Shane Roller last week at UFC on FX. A bout with Tibau would be an interesting affair on the ground, however, Tibau's power striking would be worrisome for the American.
When Tibau and Guillard met in 2009, judges rendered one of the worst decisions in UFC history by declaring Guillard as the victor. With Guillard falling from his Top-10 ranking and Tibau on his way up, it's a good time to give Tibau a chance at redemption.
Guillard and Tibau are both power strikers with an excellent wrestling base. A rematch would be exciting to watch and even better when you include the back story.
When electrifying grappler T.J. Grant met Evan Dunham at UFC 152, many were shocked to see an evolved standup game that was heavy in kicks and power strikes. This attack, plus his always dangerous submission assault would make a close matchup with the Brazilian.
Grant is 6-3 in the UFC and has won five of his last seven contests. His victory over Evan Dunham showed us that he is ready to compete with whoever is put in front of him.
The lightweight division never stops producing new challengers. Michael Johnson is another talented fighter riding the momentum of three consecutive wins.
Coming off a knockout victory against team Alpha Male's Danny Castillo, Johnson is a top prospect from the Blackzilians camp in Florida. After wins against relative UFC newcomers like Castillo and Tony Ferguson, it's time for Johnson to meet a true vet like Tibau.
"Handsome" Matt Wiman has come a long way since his days as an Ultimate Fighter contestant. Winning five of his last six bouts, Wiman also knows what it is like to lose a close decision against an opponent who may not have done enough to get his hand raised.
Wiman recently submitted grappling wizard Paul Sass in a shocking move at UFC on Fuel last month. With striking that is more technical than Tibau's and a solid ground game, this is an excellent matchup and my personal pick for each man's next contest.