NEWARK, N.J. -- Light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones is an overwhelming favorite to retain his belt Saturday night at UFC 159 over Chael Sonnen at the Prudential Center. But Jones has a long way to go before being as popular as his challenger.
Both fighters checked in at 205 pounds Friday for their title showdown. The trash-talking Sonnen, however, entered the arena to loud cheering. Jones, the nearby New York state native, was greeted less warmly. Most fans in the crowd booed when they got a glimpse of Jones, who took a brief detour to hand out pairs of his Nike sneakers before walking to the stage to weigh in.
But fan sentiment won't matter when Jones and Sonnen settle their differences inside the Octagon.
Jones (17-1) seeks to successfully defend his title for the fifth time in a row. A win would equal the UFC light-heavyweight record for consecutive title defenses, a mark held by Tito Ortiz.
"I'm here to conquer," Jones said. "I'm here to be courageous."
Sonnen, a former middleweight contender, will attempt to avoid dropping two fights in a row. He suffered a second-round TKO to 185-pound titleholder Anderson Silva in his most recent outing in July.
Every fighter on the UFC 159 card made weight except welterweight Nick Catone, who tipped the scale at 173 pounds -- two more than the nontitle bout limit.