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UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson signs new eight-fight contract

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Free agency is the hottest trend in mixed martial arts in 2016.

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, though, has never been one to follow the herd.

The UFC's longest reigning current champion will be with the company for some time to come, as he announced on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour he's signed a new, eight-fight contract to remain with the company.

"I've signed a new eight-fight deal, I'm very excited to announce that," Johnson said. "I think there's great things to come in the future."

Following his victory over Henry Cejudo at UFC 197, which was his eighth successful defense of the flyweight title, Johnson had two fights left on his old contract. But when he heard numbers he liked during his team's negotiations, the Washington state native didn't see any need to drag things out any further.

"I think when fighters do that, they want to see what they're worth, but at the same time, if they negotiate with the UFC, and they get what they like, there's no point going and testing free agency," Johnson said. "And the thing is, even Rampage Jackson said it before, nobody treats you better than the UFC."

It's been a well-documented struggle turning Johnson, who is regarded by most as either the best or second-best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, into a star. But he believes the UFC's Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White have kept faith in him, and that it's starting to pay dividends. He enters his new deal just two title defenses shy of Anderson Silva's record of 10 and with more buzz than ever following his thorough dismantling of Cejudo.

"Dana White's like ‘dude, go out there and win your fight and everything else will take care of itself,'" said Johnson, who has been champion since Sept. 2012. "A long time ago I was in Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta's office talking to him and he was like Lorenzo was like, ‘you're so f*cking dominant, we need to make people believe you can lose and tune in'. ... Dana White was just like, keep on winning, Anderson Silva didn't [become a star] til he fought Chael Sonnen and had that five round war and the rematch."