More importantly, Tibau enters the UFC lightweight title picture.
He has been a member of the UFC since November 2006, going 14-6 with two TKOs and four submissions. He's never been one of the premier fighters in the UFC, but he is revered for his strength and size. He makes for entertaining fights virtually every time out.
His win over Varner was no exception.
Tibau used his size to control the pace, earning a significant takedown and forcing Varner to fight out of his comfort zone. Known for his ability to lock in submission holds, the big Brazilian kept Varner on the defensive and limited his explosive fists.
It didn't end well, with Varner rocking Tibau and leaving him on his heels during the closing round, but it was too little, too late for the American. In turn, Tibau walked away with a split-decision victory and further established his legacy as a consistently strong fighter.
While he may not have a history of success against Top 10 opponents, Tibau reminded the MMA world of how strong he can be when using his size to his advantage. His massive size, that is.
For those curious, lightweight is considered to be 155 pounds.
Tibau just told me he weighed 180(!) tonight.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 1, 2013
Tibau has now won consecutive fights after defeating John Cholish via submission in May 2013. He's lost four matches over the past five years, but all were by decision. He rarely has failed to entertain.
And that's reason enough to give him an opportunity on the main card.
The best-case scenario is that he defeats some of the top lightweight fighters in the world, using his size and power to make his mark. In turn, he'd work his way into the Top 10 rankings and become a more legitimate contender.
Should Gleison Tibau enter the UFC lightweight title picture?
Tibau is a UFC veteran, has seen the best fighters over multiple years and is a force to be reckoned with when he takes fights to the ground. Fighting Benson Henderson or Anthony Pettis is far from his immediate future—and I mean far— but a clash with the likes of Donald Cerrone or Pat Healy should be realistic.
It would offer the seven-year veteran the chance to make a run at the championship belt after years of dedication to the UFC.
It's important to note that entering the title picture doesn't necessarily constitute an appearance in a title fight. It takes multiple bouts to become the top contender, and Tibau has shown he's worthy of the opportunity to prove himself.
And that's something no one should deny him.
He has experience, power and the high-caliber ground game to give any of the top fighters trouble. He's also an entertaining character who can get into the Octagon and build up a crowd as well as you could ask of him with his unorthodox approach.
The only question at this point is whom the UFC will place him against next.