As with most aspiring athletes who grew up during the Michael Jordan era, UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones (Pictured) always dreamed of being sponsored by Nike. Although middleweight king Anderson Silva is the only Octagon fighter to don the world famous Swoosh, Jones hopes to one day have his own “Air Bones Jones” line.
The 24-year-old thought he was on his way after joining FORM Athletics in 2011, but the K-Swiss-owned company decided to close up shop late last year after struggling to get out of the red. Instead of inking with another monster label, Jones decided to get his next sponsor in-house by signing with the company that already prints his paychecks.
By coming to terms with the UFC, Jones is following a master plan that leaves the door open for him to accomplish his ultimate aspiration of becoming a Nike man.
“I’ve had a goal of being sponsored by Nike for many, many years,” Jones stated during a recent conference call. “Part of our strategy to try and make that happen one day is not be a billboard – not be sponsored by TapouT one week, and Affliction one week, Muscle Pharm next week and all these random companies.
“I try to look for long-lasting relationships with companies. So, a part of my brand is to keep it clean. Less is more, in my opinion. So, once FORM Athletics went down, pretty much every company in the business was looking for an opportunity to work with me. I thought it was a real honor, it was awesome, but we came up with a strategy to keep it clean and be sponsored by the UFC itself.
“They put in the deal that if any mainstream companies come after this win [at UFC 145], that they’ll let me go.”
Although Jones enters an exclusive club of one to be sponsored by the UFC, it shouldn’t be that much of a shocker. He has been singed to XYIENCE for quite some time. Although there is no concrete evidence, many insiders believe the energy drink company is funded by UFC-owned Zuffa, LLC.
As far as Jones is concerned, his new deal with the UFC is a match made in heaven – that is until Phil Knight comes calling, of course.
“I’m glad the UFC wanted to work with me, as well. I think they trust that I will never make them look bad. You never have to worry about me getting a DWI or doing something crazy. I think I’m a good company guy.
“The UFC asks me to do anything and I always do it. I never tell them ‘no.’ I think I’ve had to do more marketing than any other fighter because I say no to absolutely nothing. I don’t think most champs are like that.”
Here’s a look at the trunks Jones will be sporting against Rashad Evans: