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No more talk: It's Jones vs. Sonnen

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‘Bones’ will be defending light heavyweight title

No excuses. Jon “Bones” Jones has had months, not days, to prepare this time around for Chael Sonnen.

That doesn’t sound like good news for Sonnen.

In a bout at least eight months in the making, Jones will defend his light heavyweight championship for a fifth time when he fights Sonnen at UFC 159 today at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on pay-per-view.

Jones’ reign was besmirched only by his refusal to fight Sonnen on eight days’ notice at UFC 151 in September after contender Dan Henderson withdrew because of injury. Jones, a team member of Albuquerque’s Jackson-Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts, didn’t want to risk his title against a last-minute replacement, so he balked at the fight.

UFC President Dana White was forced to cancel a pay-per-view show for the first time in his tenure, igniting trash talk between White and Jones before tempers mellowed and the promotion’s booming business continued.

Now, it’s time to fight in the octagon.

“This fight with Chael,” Jones said, “it ties me in with pure peace.”

For all his prowess inside the cage, Jones (17-1) is more mellow when it comes to pushing fights. Sonnen’s mouth is up there with some of the greats of pro wrestling when it comes to cutting promos. Sonnen’s never met a microphone or camera he didn’t like and has perfected the art of the sound bite to hype his fights, something his critics say has gotten him more title fights than his record.

Sonnen (28-12-1) co-owns a pizza place and named a special pie — topped with chicken — for Jones.

There was a line on the menu that told fans to order fast, “before our chicken runs out and we have to cancel.”

Jones, ahem, wouldn’t bite on a volley.

Focused on his title bout, he refused to return any bulletin-board quotes back at Sonnen. Plus, he doesn’t need to mouth off to push a fight.

“The thought of going home without my belt, it keeps me angry,” Jones said.

Only Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz has been more successful in UFC history at keeping a belt like Jones. Should Jones win, he’d tie Ortiz for most consecutive successful title defenses with five. After beating Shotgun Rua in March 2011, Jones went on to beat Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort.

Jones said he’d like to set the record of six straight title defenses around November before crossing weight classes and moving on to a dream fight, perhaps a record-payday bout against someone like Anderson Silva.

Sonnen’s last two losses were against Silva. But after fighting Silva, and scouting Jones, Sonnen said he knows who is the best of the two.

“I think Jon is considerably better than Anderson,” Sonnen said. “Sometimes I hear that I don’t deserve this fight or I’m not the right guy, but then I hear that Anderson could beat him. Well, you’ve got to be kidding me? I stomped Anderson Silva twice.”
— This article appeared on page D5 of the Albuquerque Journal

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