In August 2012, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones signed a landmark, worldwide deal with Nike—the first of its kind for a mixed martial arts athlete.
Now Jones' first Nike apparel is set for release on Friday with a line of shirts and shoes hitting Nike.com as well as NikeTown in New York and Las Vegas, according to manager Malki Kawa, who confirmed the news to Bleacher Report on Thursday.
Jones sent a picture of his new signature shoe out via Twitter on Thursday with a Friday release date for his new line of apparel with the company.
While other athletes in the UFC—such as middleweight king Anderson Silva—have signed deals with Nike as well, Jones will be the first to have his own line released in the United States.
The release coincides with Jones' next title fight, which happens next Saturday at UFC 159 in New Jersey when he clashes with Chael Sonnen in the main event.
Jones' deal with Nike was brokered through manager Malki Kawa along with famed agent Ari Emanuel, head of William Morris Endeavor. Emanuel, who was the basis of the popular TV character Ari Gold from the HBO series Entourage, was also an instrumental figure in the UFC's television deal with Fox in 2011.
Kawa spoke to MMAWeekly.com about the Nike deal last year:
I’ve always said that if we can do the right thing for Jon, and help Jon get there, it’s going to open doors for everyone else. So now Jon gets the first deal in MMA like this, well tomorrow there might be another type of guy that comes along that’s not Jon Jones, and that’s going to open up opportunities for them.
The Nike brand is synonymous with sports clothing. The company is currently valued at over $10.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Jones now joins athletes such as New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Miami Heat forward LeBron James as Nike branded athletes with signature lines of clothes and shoes being released.
Kawa also confirmed with Bleacher Report on Thursday that the initial run of his client's first Nike shoe will be limited in numbers so sales are expected to go fast in the first hours after the release on Friday morning at 9 a.m. ET.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.