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Bellator 128: Michael Page wants to be bigger MMA star than Georges St-Pierre, expects to finish Nah-Shon Burrell on Friday

Bellator MMA has stumbled onto a budding star in British welterweight Michael Page. This Friday (Oct. 10, 2014), the flashy striker seeks his seventh career mixed martial arts (MMA) victory, and seventh first-round finish, when he takes on UFC veteran Nah-Shon Burrell in the co-main event of Bellator 128 in Thackerville, Oklahoma. "Venom" sat down with to discuss his upcoming bout, his high aspirations in the sport of MMA, and where he learned to master his eccentric kicking techniques.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Page is arguably the hottest prospect in all of mixed martial arts (MMA), and Bellator MMA is ready to cash in by giving him the co-main event slot for Friday night's (Oct. 10, 2014) Bellator 128 card in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

The British welterweight sensation's highlight reel has been making the rounds ever since his very first pro MMA bout, in which he knocked out his opponent with a tornado kick, and eerily stood in solemnity as his opponent crumbled to the canvas. Although Page has been criticized for fighting less-than-average opponents, he will be taking on his toughest test of his MMA career as he faces off against UFC veteran Nah-Shon Burrell.

Looking for yet another highlight-reel finish to add to his collection, Page is ready to prove he is among the best welterweights in the world. With lofty aspirations and goals in MMA, "Venom" has put a ton of pressure on himself going into Friday night, and he wouldn't like it any other way.

With the entire MMA community watching Page as he fights in Bellator for the third time this weekend, the British phenom sat down with to discuss his goals in MMA, where he sees himself in the title picture, and how he plans on finishing Nah-Shon Burrell.

How he is feeling going into Bellator 128:

I feel amazing and I am ready to put on a show. I just want to get this weigh-in done and get the show rolling. Luckily, I’ve never had any difficulty cutting weight for a fight. About four weeks from the fight I am already slowly cutting down on certain foods and the size of the foods. By the time I am here it is very easy for me.

His thought on a potential looming title shot:

I guess a win could do anything, but a title shot is for when I think I am ready, and I don’t believe I will be ready after this one fight. My goal is obviously to achieve the title, but I also want to maintain the title. It is not just about taking the title now, because when you are the champ everyone is gunning for you, you have a target on your back. At that point, I want to be ready for absolutely anything that comes at me. I still want to take my time, maybe a couple more fights before I even talk about the title. But, anything can happen at the same time.

Will the criticism of the quality of your opponents thus far end after this bout?

I personally think, no. Anyone that believes I can’t face the elite competition will continue to think that, and those that believe in me will continue to do that. Every time I take someone out some will say, "that was a better challenge" or "he needs to fight a name guy or a tougher guy."

I think you are either a fan or not, and you will always be that way. It’s good to have both sides of the coin, though. I can beat Nah-shon this time around, and there will be people saying "he wasn’t good enough, you should fight this person or that person." I just need to focus on my goals and what I am going to do. Everything else will fall into place.

How he has trained for Nah-Shon, and his prediction for the fight:

I usually leave the tape to my coaches to begin with, and they break down the style I am dealing with tactically. The closer it gets to the fight, however, I put a face to the name by watching a little bit more of my opponent. I am basically just matching what my coaches have been saying. I’ve watched Burrell, and I see openings and weaknesses. Especially considering he is a striker, I know I am a better striker than him. I expect a second-round TKO.

What he attests his incredible first-round finishes to:

Believe it or not, that is not my game plan going in. The initial game plan is to basically slow things down for the first round and then look for the finishes in the second or third round. But, it’s just happened this way where I throw a right head kick and it lands for example, and that results in a big finish quickly.

Discussing his flashy striking style and why fans are engaged by it:

I had years and years of training in freestyle kickboxing, which is similar to Taekwondo or Karate. It’s essentially the point fighting style. It is a lot more athletically challenging, so that results in those types of kicks being standard in those competitions. In MMA those types of kicks are not thrown as much because it is a risk to throw it. For me, it was normal to throw those flashy kicks when I transitioned to MMA because I was so used to it.

The MMA world has not been fully educated in all disciplines and styles. A lot of fighters look quite similar nowadays. Anybody that is even remotely different, they get a lot more attention than the average fighter. The flashy kickboxing style allows people to be drawn to them even more.

How his training has prepared him for precarious positions, even though he has yet to face them in the cage:

I’ve been [put in bad positions] time and time again. I’m in that type of struggle at least two or three times a week in the gym. I am happy for it though. It wouldn’t make sense to be walking through everyone in the gym and in the fights as well. When I eventually come across that first person that puts me in trouble in the cage, I’ll know how to persevere through it and get out to a better position because of my training. If you are put in danger, you have to be able to conduct yourself appropriately and get out safely with the chance to still win the fight.

His thoughts on a potential match-up with Paul Daley:

Unless that match-up is put in front of me, I don’t really care about it to be fair. For me it’s about being told who my opponent is, I don't care who it will be before hand. The second someone says "this is who you are fighting" and my coaches give me the go ahead, then that’s when I take interest in them and do some research on them. That's when I put the face to the name.

His thoughts on becoming an international star the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Conor McGregor, and Michael Bisping:

I honestly don’t want to be anything like those guys. The reason I say that is because as much as they are big in their respective countries, for me that’s not big enough. I want to be big across the world. I want to be one of the biggest faces in all of MMA. I want to be able to go to absolutely any country and be the main event and draw those huge numbers. If they’re not that person, they are not somebody I want to be mimicking.

Where his confidence comes from, and how that leads to even loftier aspirations:

I believe in myself enough where I can genuinely say that I can compete at a really high level in MMA. With that thought you push your limits and goals though. My goal is to be the biggest face in MMA. Not just hardcore MMA fans, but even those who don’t know what MMA is. I want to be so big that everyone has heard or seen me fight, or seen a clip or highlight of me, and know where I come from.

With a huge opportunity in front of him this Friday, "Venom" plans on taking one more step toward achieving his goals of being the world's most renowned MMA fighter.

With lofty aspirations and the entire country of England supporting him, Page is ready to take the next big step in his career, proving he is an elite mixed martial artist by dispatching of Nah-Shon Burrell tomorrow evening.

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