I have a solution. I don't know if someone has mentioned this idea before, so excuse me if it's a repeat.
Leaving aside the issue of who coaches for the time being (although I like drama filled combos like Tito and Ken... so I wouldn't mind Chael and Bisping, or Brock and Mir. The current nice respectful vibe between JDS and Brock totally lacks compelling drama)... I think the contestant selection needs to be shaken up in a big way.
I really enjoyed the season with Serra (season 4) not just because the guys cracked plenty of good jokes, but mainly because the fighters were all people who had a decent chance of performing well in the UFC. If I remember correctly, all had previously fought in the UFC hence it was called "The Comeback". Some had washed out, others had done reasonably well before going downhill, but all had Octagon experience.
Rather than repeating this exactly, I'd like to see the UFC build the FW and BW weight classes using TUF. Right now, no one knows the lower ranked members of these weight classes. They need to be introduced to the potential buying public, particularly casuals. Also, hardcores may currently be put off by the low quality of TUF recruits. My idea solves both issues.
So what is it?
Season "A". As many of the top FWs as possible excluding the champ and top contender who will have a fight during or at the end of the Season. The finalists of the Season face off at Season's end for a title shot against the winner of that fight. Personally I think it's best if both the Champ/Contender and Season Winner fight occur on the same night, then you bring the two winners in the ring and announce their upcoming title bout in 3-4 months. Perhaps you have the coaches face off on the same night as that upcoming title bout - it seems like an elegant tie-in.
Season "B". Same as "A" except for BWs.
I don't want to belabor this by writing lots of pros and cons, as I think it's pretty evident that the pros outweigh the cons. I'm sure plenty of pros and cons will also be mentioned in the comments.
1) The UFC should pay the fighters decently for their involvement in the show. They can certainly afford it. And the investment will pay dividends in increasing the interest value and draw potential of these weight classes and fighters.
2) The coaches should of course be from a different weight class, and certainly should not be the champion and top contender of that weight class (I think they've had people from same weight class as coaches before... but the prospects were a long way off challenging for the titles).
3) Fighters should be encouraged to be themselves/ be interesting. If the vibe is boring, ratings and interest will be sub-optimal.