Exclusive: Searching for success with breathtaking style, Bellator 120's Michael Page looks to leave MMA mark

Photo courtesy of Rachel Rapheal

Less than 24 hours away from his Bellator 120 pay-per-view (PPV) main card fight, Michael Page is eager to entertain the masses and leave a mark on the sport. In an exclusive interview with MMAmania.com, “Venom” talks about the growth of his career, along with being compared to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) superstars Anderson Silva and Jon Jones and much more. Check out our interview with the lauded prospect below.

It takes a few highlight videos to get people talking about a certain mixed martial arts (MMA) talent. Countless fighters could have more than 30 fights under their belts, but without a decent reel -- or a spectacular knockout -- he or she could go unnoticed.

In his debut fight for Bellator in Feb. 2012, Michael Page danced around Ben Dishman, circling his arms and shuffling his shoulders. His footwork was reminiscent of something you would see in concert from a pop star. And every time his opponent would rush forward, Page would make him pay with a brutal shot.

Then, as he stared at his opponent -- who was up against the cage with his hands down -- the Englishman unleashed a vicious tornado kick that decked Dishman square on the chin. As his opponent stumbled away with the referee intervening to stop the fight, Page stood there with a facial expression full of ferocity.

This can all be found on YouTube. Just insert the fighter's name and beside it, type in "New Anderson Silva."

Not only is Page a phenomenon inside the cage, but he's full of life when he's not competing, too. He's got a good attitude, isn't arrogant and just by speaking to him for several minutes, you can tell he's full of enthusiasm -- always looking to laugh.

He's gained quite a following in his native England, specifically because of the way he handles himself in the cage. With his career set for stardom and his popularity rising among North American fans, the 27-year-old combatant knows observers will always tune in to watch him fight.

"Everyone likes a winner, for one, and everyone loves to hate the winner," Page told MMAmania.com "It doesn't really matter either way, people are going to watch you and follow your career."

He compares this assessment to how fans feels about arguably the best professional boxer in the world today.

"The same way in the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr.," said Page. "He's an absolutely amazing fighter in boxing and regardless of what you think about him as a boxer, you're always going to watch him fight. That's where I'm going to be in the future. Regardless of whether you agree with my style or not, you're going to want to see me. I also think my style's completely different, which makes it a lot more entertaining as well. They know I will put on a show. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing."

In a world where "playing it safe" is a term that has been thrown around for fighters who usually coast in un-entertaining fashion, the undefeated (5-0) prospect is looking to stand apart from the rest.

Although, he's surely aware of the consequences for fighters who try to show off a bit too much.

"I think where MMA is now, everyone knows roughly the same things," said Page. "Adding that creativity makes you standout. Just doing something out of the ordinary. Obviously, you have to keep winning. There's no point in doing flashy stuff and getting knocked out because you'll be forgotten quick as well."

Page believes his unique and unorthodox style is a massive factor for his main card inclusion this weekend (Sat., May 17, 2014) at Bellator 120: "Rampage vs. King Mo" when he returns from a year-long hiatus to battle Rickey Rainey -- who has also won his lone Bellator bout -- in a welterweight scrap.

The pay-per-view (PPV) event, which takes place in Landers, Miss., will mark just the second time "MVP" competes in the United States. He's had two bouts take place in his home of London, England, as well as two scraps in Mumbai, India.

"I've watched all of his fights," Page admits. "He looks very strong, obviously he likes to strike as well, but I find he works at a slower pace and hopefully that's going to be the downfall there. I should be able to get in and out without any problems. That's been the game plan mainly; to land my shots, get out and keep going until I land that special shot."

After one appearance under the Bellator banner, in which he finished Ryan Sanders in 10 seconds at Bellator 93, "Venom" is set on building a future with the organization he hopes to soon call home. Not only is he under contract, but he's an admirer of its product, too.

"I'm a fan of the show, and when I heard I was going to be on the show, it was amazing for me. In a short space of time for me being in the MMA industry, I definitely want to build my reputation up there, build my career forward from there. The team there is amazing. The people that I've met from the team over there ... lovely people. So, I have no complaints and I'm going to be staying there, definitely."

Bellator is different from organizations like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and World Series of Fighting (WSOF), specifically because of their tournament format. Its motto is, "where title shots are earned, not given," even though preferable fights have been booked in the place of those that make more sense based off its principles.

Nevertheless, Page still has a long way to go in his career and you can make that judgment after seeing how much time he's been in the cage. In his five bouts, he's only spent 9:01 fighting professionally in his career, which is the equivalent to almost two rounds.

The tournament is definitely something he's looking at, but he wants to make sure he's ready for it before he participates.

"That's kind of what I'm used to," said Page. "Coming from the freestyle kickboxing, anytime we went to a competition, that's what it was. It was kind of knockout, elimination-type tournament program. So, I'm actually used to doing those kinds of things -- but usually in one day, obviously. At the same time, I don't want to jump into it just yet. I want to make sure that I'm ready for every person that I've come up against. There's some amazing fighters in the tournament system and I don't want to go in there and lose out due to experience. If I get beat, then I want it to be because the person was just better than me, not because I was lacking in some areas. Before I enter that, I definitely want to make sure my experience is up."

The freestyle kickboxer has been competing since he was five years old, but you wouldn't know any of the point-scoring fighters he looked up to in his domain.

He only started training in MMA a few years ago, so don't expect for him to tell you guys like Royce Gracie or Fedor Emelianenko inspired him.

"I didn't really watch MMA while I was doing kickboxing at all," said Page. "You obviously hear of other top athletes in combat, but regardless of watching them or watching them fight, if there was a crazy knockout in MMA I'd go and watch it. But, it wasn't something that I religiously watched until I started doing it. There was no one in MMA that inspired me to come over. For me, it was a case of kickboxing wasn't doing enough for me and I wanted to discover different combat sports. I was either going to go to Thai boxing or MMA. I thought Thai boxing and boxing were a bit too close to what I already do, so I'd probably get bored again quick. Being in MMA, I feel like a student again."

With the public's interest growing for combat sports promotions such as Glory and Lion Fight, several people have asked the Bellator fighter if he'd like to compete for those organizations in the future. However, since he's been competing kickboxing since he was a child, "Venom" would like to move on and explore different worlds.

He's not exactly shutting the door on the possibility, yet he's focusing on the sport he's grown to love as of late.

"For me, personally, it's kind of played out," said Page. If there's an opportunity there, I'll talk to my coaches and if my coaches ask me to do it, then I will if I want to do it as well. But, at the moment if you'd ask me that, I'd say no. My focus is MMA and nothing else."

The young athlete has already drawn comparisons to legendary Anderson Silva and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones simply because he has a dynamic style reminiscent of those two superstars.

It's easy for pundits to come up with those types of comparisons, yet Page's methodology is eerily similar to those two UFC combatants. It's something for which he's grateful; however, he's not just looking to emulate their respective techniques.

He wants to be even more successful.

"Regardless of their success, 100 percent I want that and more. With regard to trying to do anything that they do, not at all. I want to bring my style and my martial arts style to the cage, and that's neither of them two. One's more Greco, initially, and one's more Thai boxing and jiu-jitsu. They're both absolutely amazing athletes, and when people compare me to them, it's a massive compliment for me to hear being in the game not long and hearing those kinds of comparisons. But I'm not trying to be them at all. If you're going to mention names, it's going to be me individually as well as people like Silva and Jones."

Every fighter dreams of wearing a championship belt and the same goes for "MVP." He has goals he would like to accomplish in Bellator. And since he's competing in his second fight for the organization this weekend, it's likely we will be seeing much more of him.

Apart from the noise he's been making on the Internet, Page wants to leave a huge mark on the sport -- similar to athletes who have made their names synonymous with the competitions in which they excel.

Until then, you can keep on showing your friends his highlight videos.

"I want to be that name that makes you think of MMA," expressed Page. "If you hear David Beckham's name, you know (European) football. Even if you've never heard anything about football, you've heard of David Beckham. If you didn't hear anything about basketball, you'd probably hear Michael Jordan. That's the kind of name I want to become within this sport. The reason I could see myself doing it is because even when I speak to people around, they're like, "Man, I've shown my auntie your fight, I've shown my granny your fight!

"People that have never watched MMA and would probably not watch MMA, they have watched a fight and enjoyed it. The way I perform is completely different."

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