Now, with the influx of former Strikeforce fighters, as well as the emergence of a few familiar faces from light heavyweight, the once-anemic 185-pound weight class is starting to bottleneck at the top, as a handful of title chasers look to thin the herd at upcoming events.
That includes longtime contender Michael Bisping.
"The Count" is slated to hook 'em up with fellow mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Mark Munoz, when they meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 30: "Bisping vs. Munoz" on FOX Sports 2 from the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, England, on Oct. 26, 2013.
And Bisping tells The Telegraph he wouldn't be surprised to be facing off against a certain "sensational" Brazilian with a win over "The Filipino Wrecking Machine."
"It was sensational. Okami is the perennial contender - we've never seen that happen to him before. Jacare is definitely a title contender now. He could be my next opponent after Munoz. Who knows? Vitor Belfort is there and now there's Jacare and Chael and Lyoto Machida's coming down. The middleweight division is really stacked so my job's getting harder by the day, which is annoying but I've never wanted an easy run at the title. If I'm not good enough then that's the way it is. I think I am but you've got to fight and win fights to prove that."
He's always come close in the past, but seems to fall short when the belt is within reach.
Ronaldo Souza transitioned from the Hexagon last May with startling results. After choking out Chris Camozzi at UFC on FX 8, "Jacare" blew the doors off longtime contender Yushin Okami in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 28, racking up his fifth-straight win.
As well as his fifth-straight finish.
Not coincidentally, Souza is also interested in fighting Bisping -- or Munoz -- if it gets him closer to a middleweight title shot. He also hasn't ruled up a trip up to 205 pounds to test his might, something that could also happen if "The Count" re-aggravates this injury.
Time will tell.