Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
TORONTO -- The question of whether Jon Jones will be booed or cheered at UFC 152 saw its first real clue on Friday, when Jones stepped on to a stage before a crowd at the Mattamy Athletic Center at The Gardens and heard the jeers.
The UFC light-heavyweight champion smiled at the reaction, which became more mixed at times as his supporters tried to drown out the boos. Jones played along, alternating a thumb's up/thumb's down gesture as the fans voiced their opinions.
Jones is the heavy favorite to beat Vitor Belfort on Saturday, and both champ and challenger comfortably made weight to make their title clash official. Jones was 204.6 pounds, while Belfort was 204.2.
"I honestly believe Vitor is one of the best," Jones said, trying to speak over the audience feedback. "I'm going to do my best, and do what I always do."
"I've been fighting for a long time, Joe," he told stage announcer Joe Rogan. "I've fought so hard for this platform, to be able to fight a guy like Jon Jones, a new era of the sport, a new breed, it's old lion vs. young lion tomorrow."
It's not the only title being contested tomorrow, as the flyweights will also crown their inaugural champion.
Demetrious Johnson isn't used to being the bigger guy in the cage, but at least by weigh-in numbers, he was the bigger of the two fighters stepping in to the flyweight title fight. Johnson, who checked in at exactly 125 pounds, was six-tenths of a pound heavier than Benavidez.
As they have all week, both fighters stressed the significance of being the first champ in the division.
"It means everything," Benavidez said. "I've worked so hard for this, the fact it's coming true, it's amazing right now. I'm soaking it all in. It's amazing and i cant wait to give you guys a night to remember."
Michael Bisping and Brian Stann had the highest-energy staredown, with Bisping immediately stepping nose to nose with the American and the duo jawing at each other before sharing a high five and continuing to yap at one another as they walked off the stage.
Charles Oliveira missed weight for his featherweight bout with Cub Swanson. Oliveira weighed in twice, first registering 146.8, then stripping down to nothing and checking in at 146.4. The bout is still scheduled to go on, but it wasn't immediately clear whether Oliveira would drop the remaining weight or instead pay a fine.
Jon Jones (204.6) vs. Vitor Belfort (204.2)
Joseph Benavidez (124.4) vs. Demetrious Johnson (125)
Michael Bisping (185.6) vs. Brian Stann (185.4)
Matt Hamill (205.6) vs. Roger Hollett (203.6)
Charles Oliveira (146.4) vs. Cub Swanson (145.8)
Vinny Magalhaes (204.8) vs. Igor Pokrajac (205)
Evan Dunham (155) vs. T.J. Grant (154.6)
Lance Benoist (170.4) vs. Sean Pierson (169.4)
Marcus Brimage (145.4) vs. Jim Hettes (145.8)
Seth Baczynski (171) vs. Simeon Thoresen (170.4)
Mitch Gagnon (135) vs. Walel Watson (135.2)
Charlie Brenneman (170.8) vs. Kyle Noke (170.4)
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