According to sources at MMAFighting, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Nike, the first of its kind between the sports apparel giant and a mixed martial artist.
Nike has begun to carve out a name in the sport of MMA with regional sponsorship of fighters like Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva; however, the scope of the Jones deal is, thus far, unprecedented.
The clothing company is expected to officially announce the move next week, but Jones took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon to break the news to fans, tweeting “blessed to be signed by the biggest sports apparel company in the world #NIKE Dreams do come true”.
The champion, who catapulted to global fame after becoming the youngest champion in UFC history at the age of 23, joins a Nike sponsorship roster that includes household names like LeBron James and Tiger Woods. Despite recent legal troubles stemming from a DUI conviction earlier in the month, Nike seems more than willing to make the up and coming youngster the new global face of MMA.
Not only does the deal present a fantastic opportunity for Jones, but it also opens the door for the sport as a whole to continue moving into widespread mainstream recognition and visibility.
Jones is slated to defend his title on September 1st, when he takes on MMA legend Dan Henderson at UFC 151 in Las Vegas. Look for him to be sporting some fresh new “swooshes” when he enters the Octagon to defend his strap.