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Still untested: exclusive sit-down with UFC lightweight Tyson Griffin

Tyson Griffin

When Tyson Griffin enters the Octagon on Super Bowl weekend, he will be doing so with one goal and one goal in mind:

Climbing higher up the ladder of the exciting, fast-paced lightweight division.

And for Griffin to come out on top at UFC 81: "Breaking Point," he will need to go through rising lightweight star Gleison Tibau.

"I need to fight to my gameplan, keep doing what I've been doing, fighting hard paced and try to break Gleison's spirit," Griffin said.

Since losing to Nick Diaz in his UFC debut at UFC 65: "Bad Intentions," Tibau has won three straight fights inside the Octagon. His last victory was against Terry Etim at UFC 75: "Champion vs. Champion."

"I think he is a tough jiu-jitsu guy like Thiago Tavares," Griffin said. Griffin outpointed Tavares on all three judges scorecards his last time out at UFC 76: "Knockout" back in September 2007.

"Like I said, I need to put some pressure on him, break him and try to turn a black belt into a white belt by punching him in the face."

As for Griffin, the Xtreme Couture fighter has won his last two fights in the UFC and three of four since his debut at UFC 63: "Hughes vs. Penn" in 2006.

Griffin also has wins against Clay Guida, David Lee, Duane Ludwig and WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber earlier in their careers -- it's his biggest win to date.

You always get your 'bang for a buck' when watching a Tyson Griffin fight and one thing is always true, his fight will always be a 'Fight of the Night' contender.

In fact, all three of Griffin's fights in 2007 earned the prestigious honor.

"It's the pure sport of it, pure competition, I've been after it my whole life ," he said. "I love to compete, I love to train hard. The harder you train, the harder you can go out there."

Griffin would like to finish Tibau early, but he is willing to go all three rounds if it means winning at UFC 81.

"I always try to press my opponents and finish them early, but you never know, these guys are tough in the UFC," Griffin said.

What was once considered dead several years ago, the UFC lightweight division is now booming with many talented fighters like Griffin, Guida, Sean Sherk, Frankie Edgar, Kenny Florian and UFC lightweight champion, BJ Penn.

Griffin is satisfied with how the division has grown.

"I think it's awesome, with the level of competition and so many tough guys," Griffin said.

Griffin feels that he still needs to prove himself in the lightweight division. And he knows that if he one days wants to win the UFC 155-pound title that he must go through the gauntlet.

"I still feel I haven't tested myself against true UFC veterans," he said. "I fought a lot of up-and-comers like myself and I've separated myself as being one of the top up-and-comers but I'd like to fight against some of those veterans and really put myself up there with the names in the UFC."

No doubt, a win over Tibau will open a floodgate of UFC fighters and veterans looking to take on this rising star.

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