Michael Page isn’t taking his Bellator 144 foe lightly. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Michael Page is one of the most explosive prospects in the sport of MMA and he’s quickly turning into a star on Bellator’s roster. He is unbeaten and most of his wins have come via knockout. His awkward style has given everybody nightmares and he’s just getting better.
On Friday, “Venom” will face late-replacement opponent Charlie Ontiveros on the Bellator 144 card. Most expect the Brit to get past Ontiveros, but Page cautions those who think it’ll be a slaughter to be mindful because of how his opponent fights.
“It is difficult, really, because you’re expecting somebody different and then it gets changed again and again,” Page said of switching his training and game plan going in. “It can be frustrating. Also, Charlie isn’t your typical MMA fighter, either; he’s unorthodox. I’m unorthodox as well, but again, his style can be a tricky one to prepare for in such a short time. But I’m confident in myself.”
One thing Page what going for him aside from blistering handspeed and raw knockout power is the way he fights. He’s not a come-straight-at-his-opponent type of guy and his approach inside the cage has left virtually every foe perplexed and on edge.
“I feel I’m lucky to have such an awkward fighting style myself,” he stated. “People tend to pay more attention to me and need to adjust more to me than I have to adjust to them. It doesn’t change my gameplan too much but like I said, Charlie’s not what I consider your classic MMA fighter. I’m going to have to be on my A-game, keep my eyes wide open and pay attention because with those little four-ounce gloves, it doesn’t take much to get knocked out so I need to make sure I don’t get caught off-guard by anything.”
While “Venom” admitted that he had never heard of Ontiveros before Bellator offered him up as a late replacement, the MMA world in general is starting to catch on to what the London Shootfighters representative offers while in the throes of combat. There is a groundswell of excitement and hype for Page and he’s aware of it.
“Each time I go back [to the U.S.] I’m starting see more and more support for me from the fans,” he said. “The first time I came over to America to fight for Bellator -- and I know the guy was a local guy and that played a big part in it -- there were a lot of boos. Over time, it keeps getting better and better and now I hear a lot more cheers than I do boos. It keeps improving.”
But what about any added pressure for him to continue to dispatch his opposition one man at a time?
“I don’t feel it because I’m that confident in myself and my team,” he remarked. “With all the hard work I do in the gym, the crowd just spurns me on. I don’t care of you’re cheering for me or booing me; I just need them to be there making noise because it’s an emotional noise.”
Regardless of how the crowd feels about him, Page has been lights out on his way to an 8-0 start to his career. The rule in the fight game is that you haven’t truly been tested until you’ve tasted defeat, and that you only learn from your losses. The Englishman still doesn’t know what it’s like to lose as a pro, but he scoffs at the notion that he can’t become as great as he expects to be until he loses. He added that he believes those fighters who had to lose in order to improve simply weren’t putting the proper amount of work in.
“I don’t think they were training hard enough because I lose so much in the gym and the reason why that is, is so I don’t lose when I get into the cage,” he said. “I don’t believe that you have to lose to improve. I believe that every loss is an experience, but I believe I learn and gain just as much experience with winning.
“I always make mistakes and learn from them,” he continued. “In my last fight, it only lasted about 60 seconds, but I made a mistake with one of my kicks. With that mistake, that could have been detrimental and it could have cost me the win. These are the things I go back to and try to perfect in the gym. So, why do I need to lose in order to get better? With that way of thinking, apparently Floyd Mayweather hasn’t learned anything because he’s never lost.”