The middleweight division welcomed a new threat to the top ten at UFC 155 when Costas Philippou finished Tim Boetsch to announce his presence to everyone at 185lbs.
A winner of five fights in a row, Philippou stepped in to replace his teammate Chris Weidman at UFC 155 and certainly made the most of it with an impressive TKO win over Boetsch last Saturday night.
While Philippou was already on the radar as a prospect on the rise in the middleweight division, he's now firmly planted there after a big win to close out 2012 against a top ten fighter.
"It's huge. Beating a top five UFC fighter with four straight victories and not very many people go four straight wins in a row. I have to say one of the few guys that I'm five in a row right now, and not many people can say that in the UFC in any weight class. I'm on top of the world right now," Philippou told MMAWeekly.com on Thursday about the victory.
Getting the fight at UFC 155 was big for Philippou beyond just the win because following Nick Ring's sudden illness at UFC 154 that cancelled their fight, he wasn't sure he'd even get the chance to fight again in 2012.
Never one to be deterred by a challenge however, Philippou essentially trained non-stop for the better part of 3 months to stay at the ready and the hard work paid off.
Now with a top ten win under his belt as he heads into 2013, Philippou will first take some much needed time off to allow his body time to heal, but he's already got his eyes set on a potential next opponent.
"To be honest I don't want to fight that soon, I still need some time to recover from my fight, and some time off to relax, but I'm definitely looking at the Brian Stann/Wanderlei Silva fight. I'd like to fight one of those guys if possible," Philippou revealed.
"Brian Stann would be a great match-up for me, Wanderlei Silva if he decides not to retire, I think would be able to put on a great fight. We're both great strikers and it would be nice to fight a striker for a change and show my striking skills and put up and exciting show."
Stann and Silva headline the upcoming UFC on Fuel show landing in Japan on March 2, and Philippou says the timing would work out perfectly for when he's hoping to return to action this year.
One thing Philippou wants to make clear however when asking for Stann or Silva is to know that this isn't his attempt to disrespect either fighter. Philippou would consider it an honor to face either one of them in the cage, and he knows it would be no easy task to get the win.
But Costas Philippou is all about challenges and he thinks the winner of Stann vs. Silva fits that role quite well
"It would be an honor to be in the cage with either of them," said Philippou. "They're both legends in my eyes, for different reasons, but even Brian Stann I consider the guy to be a legend. I have so much respect for Brian Stann, the guy's a hero, and Wanderlei Silva is a legend. It would be a huge honor to fight either one of those guys."
With Stann and Silva facing off in early March it would give Philippou some much needed time to recover from recent injuries and relax after a busy 2012.
Then a summertime showdown with the winner of the UFC on Fuel 8 main event would be the perfect fit for Philippou's continued climb up the middleweight ladder.
"I'm looking for around June if they're okay with that. I have a few injuries, I think my nose might be busted again so I've got to go check that out, and I went through two training camps in a row so my body and mind needs a break," said Philippou.
"I think the timing and the opponent would be great if Joe Silva, Dana White and the UFC decides that they can give me Brian Stann or Wanderlei Silva, the winner of that fight, they're both legends in my eyes so it would be the same thing for me. It would be an exciting fight."