UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is the newest member of the Reebok family. Pettis confirmed the deal to MMAFighting.com on Monday. The young titleholder will now join Johny Hendricks as mixed martial artists to secure sponsorships with the blue-chip sneaker and apparel company.
"It's cool that they chose me," Pettis said. "I'm sure they had a lot of guys they could've chose from and they wanted to choose me. For me, it's an amazing opportunity.
"I definitely worked hard to be where I'm at right now and it's cool to see it all unfold, see the brands that are recognizing mixed martial arts like that."
News of the deal comes less than a week after Pettis announced another sponsorship with the General Mills cereal brand Wheaties, which has historically featured popular athletes on its boxes. Pettis will be the first mixed martial artist to be highlighted by the company.
"The new guy who's running Wheaties, a younger guy, he's a fan of martial arts," Pettis said. "There's a couple different sports that are a part of this and they're trying to somehow get the fans involved in voting for who they want to see on a Wheaties box, and they chose mixed martial arts as one of the sports. It just shows you how big the sport is getting. I mean, Jordan was on a Wheaties box, Muhammad Ali.
"It's crazy to know that they're going to recognize a fighter, a UFC guy. It's big for the sport, that's what I'm excited about. This sport has grown so much, and for me, it's cool to see how big it's getting."
Pettis (17-2) is currently riding a four-fight win streak capped by his title-winning first-round armbar over Benson Henderson, which captured the Milwaukee native the UFC lightweight championship. He is expected to coach the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will crown a new UFC women's strawweight champion, then defend his title against former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez in early December.