Gatorade debuts as sponsor of light heavyweight champ Jon Jones at UFC 165


jon-jones-51.jpgHe already has blue-chip sponsor Nike in the fold, and now Jon Jones will add the world’s foremost sports drink company to his roster.

Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC), the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, will include Gatorade among his sponsors when he fights Saturday in the main event of UFC 165.

Jones’ team at First Round Management, announced the news.

Jones on Saturday defends his title at Air Canada Centre in Toronto against Alexander Gustafsson (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC), and he’ll be going after a record sixth straight UFC title defense at 205 pounds to break the long-standing record held by UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz. Jones is a 9-to-1 favorite in the fight against the Swede.

“It’s great that a company like Gatorade sees the value that their products bring to MMA athletes,” Jones stated. “They’re one of the biggest brands in sports worldwide, and I am honored to have their support moving forward. It does not get any better than Gatorade when it comes to fueling your body, during training and competition.”

According to a release from Malki Kawa, Jones’ manager, the fighter will have the Gatorade logo featured on his fight shorts. In August 2012, Jones signed a deal with Nike, and since then the Oregon-based athletic shoe and apparel leader, which already had middleweight champion Anderson Silva on its roster. But after Jones came on board, Nike took its deal with Silva up a notch, and also signed fellow Brazilian Junior dos Santos.

Gatorade, founded in the mid-1960s at the University of Florida, became a worldwide phenomenon in the 1980s after it was purchased by the Quaker Oats Company. In 2001, Pepsi purchased Quaker Oats and now distributes Gatorade around the world. In the United States, the brand accounts for a reported 75 percent of the sports drink market.

“This is a historic day for UFC competitors,” Kawa stated. “Gatorade is one of the most recognized brands in the world. Jon has earned this relationship through hard work, determination and pure dominance inside the octagon.”

Jones currently is ranked No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA light heavyweight rankings, and he also supplanted Silva as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the rankings in July after Silva was upset by Chris Weidman.

The only loss of Jones’ career came by disqualification for illegal elbows against Matt Hamill at the TUF 10 Finale, a fight he was dominating and close to finishing when it was stopped for the blows. Jones initially was just penalized a point for the strikes, but when Hamill couldn’t continue – due to a dislocated shoulder – Jones was disqualified.

Since then, he has won nine straight fights, including five fight-night bonus awards. He beat Mauricio Rua to win the light heavyweight title at UFC 128, then defended it against Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort, all former champions, and most recently, against Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 in April.

For the latest on UFC 165, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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