Anderson Silva will be sticking around the UFC for the long haul, according to reports. Brazilian news outlet Combate revealed that Silva, the former UFC middleweight champion and one of the greatest fighters the sport of MMA has ever seen, has signed a new, 15-fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The new deal will reportedly replace his existing contract, which had seven fights left on it. Silva is 39 years old now and after breaking his leg against Chris Weidman at UFC 168, there were questions if he would ever return to the ring, or if he even had the same passion for the sport he once had. But Silva, who could have easily chose to ride off into the sunset following his second-straight loss to Weidman, instead has been working hard this last year to recover from the broken leg, heal up, and get ready to return to the Octagon and put on a show for the fans. “The Spider” is next scheduled to fight on January 31 against Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 183, a matchup that is expected to be one of the biggest blockbusters on the 2015 UFC fight schedule. Getting back to the new deal Silva signed, although I am a bit surprised he signed for 15 fights, I’m not totally shocked. The UFC has always been good to Silva financially and the former champ has made it clear on numerous occasions that he intends to complete his career in the Octagon. Sure, 15 fights is a lot and at his age it’s likely he won’t actually fight all those bouts, but the deal is more symbolic than anything and likely is for a bit more money than Silva was making on his existing contract. With the UFC needing stars in a bad way, it only makes sense that they would do everything they can to show Silva how much he means to their company, and a 15-fight deal certainly shows their commitment to him. I am looking forward to seeing Silva return to the Octagon cage next January against Diaz, and if he can win that fight in impressive fashion, don’t count him out of the middleweight title picture just yet.