Michael Page is unbeaten in six pro fights. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
In just six professional bouts, none of which have made it outside of a round, Michael Page has already compiled quite the highlight reel.
Just last May, at Bellator MMA’s inaugural pay-per-view, the flashy London Shootfighters representative danced, baited and taunted Ricky Rainey before finally subduing his foe with an overhand right to the temple 4:29 into the opening stanza. It was the longest “Venom” has spent in the cage to date.
With only a limited amount of time to showcase his skills thus far in his burgeoning career, Page promises that the best is yet to come.
“There are so many things that people haven’t seen yet. I keep telling people, the more comfortable I get with the sport, the more you’ll see from myself,” Page recently told Sherdog.com. “I want to make sure I don’t throw anything that looks amazing but puts me in trouble. I want to make sure that if I land in a bad position, I’m able to work out of it and continue showing my moves.”
Not everyone is impressed with Page’s in-cage routine. The welterweight is aware of the detractors, some of whom do not appreciate his flair for showmanship. In his mind, however, even negative attention is good attention.
“[It’s] literally split down the middle. A lot of people kind of like the style and a lot of people kind of hate the style,” he said. “Either way it doesn’t bother me. I think it draws good attention to the sport and Bellator. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing.”
Another common criticism of Page is that he has faced less than stellar competition, and that his style will not be sustainable against more difficult opposition. Rainey, a Bellator and XFC veteran with a 10-3 record, was Page’s most accomplished foe to date. After the win, Page spoke of taking his time in order to grow properly in the sport.
That process accelerates at Bellator 128, when he squares off with former Strikeforce and UFC talent Nah-Shon Burrell at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., on Friday night. Burrell, at least in theory, should be experienced enough to be unfazed by Page’s unorthodox skills.
“I feel like it’s a natural progression stepping up in class and experience,” Page said. “He’s been on big shows before. I’ve just got to make sure I’m prepared for it.”
If that means going past the first round, Page is eager to show people that he can excel in the deeper waters of a fight. If that means getting out of a few tight spots, he’s ready to do that too.
“If it’ll go my way, it’ll end in the first round still,” he said. “I think he’s gonna be a lot tougher and a lot more aware. I’m gonna have to tire him out a little bit in the first round, and I hope to finish him in the second.”
First and foremost, Page expects to entertain. He hopes that his approach to fighting can help to influence others looking to make their mark in MMA. At the moment, Page feels like too many fighters employ similar styles inside the cage.
“I think there could be more [showmanship]. I think that’s what I’m trying to bring to the MMA world,” Page said. “There’s a lot of different characters [in MMA], but in regards to fight style it’s very similar in a lot of ways. Hopefully, I’m encouraging more people to be a bit more creative when they’re fighting.”