"Everybody said it wouldn't be possible, especially after me getting into my first controversial situation," Jones said. "I just kept the faith, and I kept pushing forward. I kept a positive outlook, and it happened."
Jones joins an exclusive group of athletes recognized as the best in their sport, and he'll be featured alongside superstars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Tiger Woods, among others.
While the UFC champion is pleased with what the honor means for his career, he also hopes the deal is ultimately recognized as a turning point for all of his sport's athletes.
"It's definitely a magnificent thing — but not only for me," Jones said. "It's huge for me to be the first mixed martial artist to be placed alongside the names of LeBron and Kobe and Michael Jordan. Nike-endorsed athletes are the elite of the elite. But it's huge for everybody. It lets all the Fortune 500 companies know that it's OK to invest in MMA.
"If a fighter has exciting fights and he's marketable, now he can set his goal on Nike. Now it's more feasible, and my message to all the other fighters is, 'If I can do it, you can do it, too.' Goals that seem far-fetched, they're all in reality attainable."
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