When you look at the opponents that Michael Page (9-0) has defeated, you won't have the same expression as the one when bearing witness to the type of arsenal he wields inside the Bellator MMA cage.
Page, 29, remains undefeated as he heads into his tenth career fight on Friday (April 22, 2016) when he takes on Jeremie Holloway (7-1) at Bellator 153 inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. He's laid seven out of those nine fighters to rest in the very first round with an assortment of the wild and unorthodox style he is know for, which stems from his sport karate background.
Critics and fans alike may not be impressed with the level of competition the London native has faced, and many feel Bellator president Scott Coker is lining up another can for Page to crush in Holloway, but he is not the least bit concerned.
When the wins continue to come against more difficult adversaries, Page feels that will silence any doubt and more believers will begin to surface.
"It doesn’t matter to me, because when the media and the fans see me come up against the bigger names and I’m still doing my thing against them people will realize it’s just what I do," said Page, who will fight at Mohegan Sun Arena for the third straight time. " I think Bellator is trying to create an 'MVP' buzz over there. It’s becoming my town."
"Venom" said he can't wait to get inside the Bellator cage on Friday night and is feeling "as good as ever," heading into Friday's matchup with Holloway, whom he said has one noticeable attribute he needs to pay close attention to.
"He is very, very strong," said Page. "Any kind of mistake it seems like you will struggle to get out of because of the strength he seems to have. I need to be careful. If you can’t get to me and put your hands on me that strength doesn’t mean anything. I need to keep them twinkle toes moving, keep dodging and then land that shot."
Page continues to work on his ground game at London Shootfighters, where he is constantly improving on his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills in order to become a more complete fighter. As much as he is considered to be more of standup fighter, "Venom" scored a nice trip takedown on Charlie Ontiveros in his last fight at Bellator 144, and finished him off on the ground with strikes.
Grappling is something he has also grown to truly enjoy.
"It’s what I’ve been working on from day one, obviously knowing it would be a weakness or weak area in my game because of the head start that my kickboxing and standup has had. I’ve been working on wrestling, working on jiu-jitsu and the grappling side. It’s something I’ve been working on massively. Working on my ground-and-pound. Working on massively just all-around control when on the ground both on top and on my back. And I really enjoy it and that helps with learning and it helps with being able to remain successful when you go to the floor when you are actually enjoying what’s going on."
An arena where he could just showcase his high-flying standup skills, Bellator Kickboxing--which put on its inaugural show last week in Turin, Italy--seems like a likely spot for Page to compete. But the martial artist who began training in Lau Gar Kung Fu at the age of three says not so fast.
"A lot of people are already saying that it’s an obvious thing for me to do, but for me that is going back into something that I left and I left for a reason. As much I still enjoy doing the kickboxing… if a show comes up and it’s the right time, 100 percent I will take the fight. But, my focus is MMA and it’s something I really want to keep progressing in and continue to do well in and it will always take priority over the kickboxing events.
"I’m really enjoying what I’m doing in the cage. I’m really enjoying progressing and showing people that I have more to my arsenal especially on the ground with my wrestling and everything else and I want to become the face of MMA and taking kickboxing fights doesn’t necessarily do that."
What about facing a fighter who has a similar skill set to his like Raymond Daniels? That is something that kickboxing fans would love to see: two fighters unloaded crazy spinning and jumping techniques on each other.
"One thing I always say is that sometimes two positives don’t always bring another positive," said Page, who faced Daniels during his sport karate days. "I already know how that fight would be viewed as and it would be probably be boring because we would spend so much time… It would be a very intense fight for us, but for the people watching it’s going to be a fight where we spend more time trying to figure out each other’s distance because we are so used to doing that and we will spend more time figuring out that and not having much action going on. I actually know already people would enjoy that fight as much as I think they would. Me and Raymond Daniels are good friends and I don’t believe that is something that would happen anyway."
"Venom" has his sights fixated on the Bellator cage for now and continuing his ascent up the ranks of the division that continues to grow in depth, especially with the recent addition of former UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, who faces Andrey Koreshkov in the Bellator 153 main event. He likes the idea of a deeper division because it will make his rise up the ranks even sweeter, he says.
"It’s just growing as it should be. The bigger Bellator gets the more it seems they attract more talent. It’s good for me. I always want to be a part of a group of good fighters or a weight division that will have enough fighters and when I get to the top it’s because I had to go through a lot of talented fighters. It’s going to happen soon."
And Page is expecting a top-flight opponent will be next up after Holloway.
"100 percent, so yeah, I need to get this next fight out of the way and then it’s onwards and upwards from there."