Image Credit: USA Today Sports

Shortly removed from the news that Cris “Cyborg” Justino will throw hands with Holly Holm at UFC 219, comes word the featherweight champ has also signed a new contract with the promotion.

The 32 year-old, Brazilian star was nearing the end of her current UFC contract, and there was some talk that she might test free agency. But, recently ESPN reported that Justino has signed an extension with the UFC, and her new deal was also announced on her official site.

The post relays that the new contract will keep Justino in the UFC “for at least the next 15 months”, and it also says it’s “rumored” the deal makes her the highest paid, female fighter in the UFC.

In addition, “Cyborg” is quoted saying the following, about her new contract:

“I am excited to be committed to the UFC.  Dana White has proven himself as the best promoter in the sport and with the recent addition of Mick Maynard as Women’s matchmaker I felt it was time to come to an agreement where we can both work together and be committed in both building the UFC and the Cris Cyborg brands.  I want to thank my manager George Prajin of PrimeTime 360 and the UFC’s Hunter Campbell on the excellent job they did working together to get this deal done.  I am excited to start this new chapter in my career as a real partner with the UFC and the fights we will promote together.”

“Today is a new day with me and the UFC, from this day forward we are on the same team working together, I am no longer in a position where I am fighting for a division or a chance at a World Title. I am excited to have to the full support of WME and the UFC behind me and to see how this will elevate the platform of my brand”.

So, this development is kind of surprising, since many believed Justino would test the free agency waters. But, clearly the UFC recognizes what a big name “Cyborg” is, and what she brings to the promotion (after having a ‘rocky’ relationship with the renowned fighter for sometime).

“Cyborg’s” first title defense as the 145 champ will go down on December 30th. UFC 219 will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Justino won the vacant title in July, by taking out Tonya Evinger.