The role of iron as a critical nutrient in pathogenic bacteria is widely regarded as having driven selection for iron acquisition systems among uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) isolates. Carriage of multiple transition metal acquisition systems in UPEC suggests that the human urinary tract manipulates metal-ion availability in many ways to resist infection. For siderophore systems in particular, recent studies have identified new roles for siderophore copper binding as well as production of siderophore-like inhibitors of iron uptake by other, competing bacterial species. Among these is a process of nutritional passivation of metal ions, in which uropathogens access these vital nutrients while simultaneously protecting themselves from their toxic potential. Here, we review these new findings within the current understanding of UPEC transition metal acquisition.