Explosive knockouts, unique fighting style and a love for dancing: meet the UFC’s newest debutant, Michael ‘Venom’ Page

Michael Page stands motionless looking directly into a camera. Around him the room is an a frenzy, but he calmly spreads his arms wide while still locking eyes with the camera.

He is eventually dragged away, but not before sticking his tongue out at the camera operator, letting out a guttural scream of celebration.

The reason for the pose? Page has just burst onto the mixed martial arts (MMA) scene, performing an explosive tornado kick to win via technical knockout on his professional debut; the move drew parallels with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) great Anderson Silva.

The moment goes viral on social media and YouTube afterwards, vaulting Page into the consciousness of the wider MMA community despite it being his debut.

Twelve years on, the fighter from London will make his UFC debut against Kevin Holland on March 9 at UFC 299.

As one of MMA’s more polarizing figures due to his unique fighting style and the panache he brings to his bouts, the 36-year-old Page describes his fights as the “full package deal.”

“If you come to see my fights, it’s not just what happens in the fight: it’s before the fight, the build-up, it’s the walk out to a fight and it’s the celebration after the fight, which I’m very much known for,” Page told CNN Sport.

“But the fighting style, I’d say that comes from, it’s part of my personality. There’s a few elements. The Caribbean culture. I love to dance, love to smile, just loud, a bit more like outgoing.”

Page is hoping a UFC welterweight title fight against Leon Edwards could happen in the future. - Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Page is hoping a UFC welterweight title fight against Leon Edwards could happen in the future. - Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

A family affair

Both of his parents practised Lau Gar kung fu before moving to freestyle kickboxing, while he also had aunts and uncles who competed, as did a lot of his siblings. He says his parents were his “main inspirations” for taking up fighting.

“Even if I was to take you to my mom’s house now, there’s trophies there that are not mine, they’re hers,” says Page, adding that is family were “raised through the martial arts.”

He has fond memories of the bus rides to and from competitions, creating songs and singing them with his family as they traveled to and from events.

Page admits that he used to get his “ass kicked a lot” in those early stages of his career, but that the camaraderie, the stories, the friends he met along the way was a tonic to what happened in the ring.

While some of his family members gave up competitive fighting as the years went by, Page stuck with it. He learned the ropes and made his first steps in kickboxing as he toughened up.

Page then switched to mixed martial arts. Kickboxing’s limited earnings played a part in that decision, but so was his desire to keep learning new skills – something MMA offered.

“You have to learn jujitsu, you have to learn wrestling, there’s so much extra things I’d have to learn. Even the style of kickboxing is different,” Page said.

He initially was set on moving to Miami to train, but a last-minute visit to London Shootfighters changed his mind.

London Shootfighters has earned a reputation for regularly producing top-level combat sports competitors, and Page could tell instantly that it was the place for him.

“From being taught very well from a young age, I can hear sense. Even if I went to a football club, I can tell when a coach knows how to coach. When I got there, I could tell that the guys talking really know how to coach,” said Page of London Shootfighters and its reputation of regularly producing top-level competitors.

“I fell in love with it. Fell in love with the coaches, their knowledge, how intense they were because I was really game to go and be the best.”


With his background in kickboxing, Page’s MMA style of fighting has incorporated elements from other disciplines, all resulting in his unorthodox technique.

Unlike many of his rivals, Page will fight with his arms down by his side, prioritizing keeping his distance and launching devasting strikes from afar.

He says his unique style is akin to that of the Looney Tunes’ ‘Tasmanian Devil’ or the video game character ‘Crash Bandicoot.’

“There’s a lot of crazy stuff that happens. It’s visually entertaining because it’s not the normal. I don’t just walk in a straight line. I have to do things extremely differently.”

Page takes on Logan Storley in 2022. - Zac Goodwin/Press Association/AP
Page takes on Logan Storley in 2022. - Zac Goodwin/Press Association/AP

Page describes himself as a “showman.” He can be seen seemingly taunting his opponents mid-fight, rolling his shoulders similar to a dance move and fighting with a broad smile on his face. Page has watched some of his dad’s old fights and he recognizes that showman streak in his father as well.

That “showman” element acknowledges to his upbringing on the road as well as his Caribbean culture.

Such is his dedication to his ostentatious persona, Page used to study Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and how he delivered his lines during his WWE heyday while also writing down lines to save for later, all in order to build his brand.

Page’s showmanship feeds into his MMA ‘Venom’ moniker, which is a nod to the force of his punch, despite his slight frame.

His flying knee knockout of Evangelista Santos in 2016 only added to his nickname: Michael ‘Venom’ Page – or more simply, ‘MVP.’


However, Page’s distinctive style isn’t for all in the fighting community. While some praise its flair, others have critiqued its effectiveness and longevity.

Page has also received flak for his lackadaisical nature and flamboyant movements seemingly taunting and goading opponents.

His flowing, almost rhythmical movements in the ring can often seem a jarring juxtaposition to his counterparts’ more surgical style.

“When I’m expressing myself like that, I am at my most comfortable,” says Page. “Now having somebody throw punches and kicks and try and take off your head and choke you out and say that you’re comfortable in front of them is a difficult thing to achieve. So I have to do as many things as I can to relax myself.

Page has taken inspiration from 'The Rock' when it comes to building his 'MVP' brand. - Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire/AP
Page has taken inspiration from 'The Rock' when it comes to building his 'MVP' brand. - Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire/AP

“Dancing, I love. Music – it’s almost like I could hear music in my head, but the crowd is my music. So all of those things just keep me nice and calm. And fighting in a high intensity situation, being calm allows you to see so much more than trying to match the energy of what’s going on around you.”

The negative comments he’s received over the years – he describes the chatter after his debut fight as 98% negative – for his style have previously bothered him, but now he’s come to appreciate just having people talk about him.

“The good thing about that: it means more people are talking about it because there’s a conversation to be had. If everybody’s on the same side, then it’s not much of a conversation,” Page tells CNN.

Title fight?

Through his success in the ring, Page rose through Bellator’s welterweight division. And after leaving the championship last year, he signed with the UFC in free agency where he’ll make his welterweight debut against Holland in Miami.

Page explains his training has been “extremely painful” for his fight with Holland, although he stresses that he won’t change much from what’s worked before.

He will join a division whose titleholder is fellow Briton Leon Edwards.

Although it remains a long way off at this point, a potential title fight between two British fighters in the UK is an ambition for Page.

“So there’s certain times where I do turn to look out for the outside and everybody else that’s watching. And I don’t think it’s happened before, two UK fighters fighting for a UFC title,” said Page.

“Regardless of the win, the belt stays in the UK, which is great for the UK, but also I think both me and him can build such a crowd and such an excitement for that fight that we could do it in a stadium, which I’d love to do.”

Michael ‘Venom’ Page takes on Kevin Holland on March 9, 2024, live on TNT Sports at UFC 299: O’Malley vs. Vera 2. TNT Sports (formerly known as Turner Sports and briefly as Warner Bros. Discovery Sports) is a division of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which also owns CNN.

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