With all the big names on Bellator’s upcoming pay-per-view broadcast on Saturday night, perhaps the most buzzed about fighter is one who has been in MMA the shortest amount of time.
In just around two years, former kickboxer Michael “Venom” Page has become a fan favorite for his unique style and quick finishes.
Since making his MMA debut in February of 2012, Page has won all five of his fights within the first round – including two highlight-reel knockouts – one in his Bellator debut in March 2013 against Ryan Sanders.
“I felt from my first fight that I was springboarded into a lot of peoples’ eyes, but it’s something that I didn’t expect,” Page told MMAWeekly.com. “I knew that certain people would like my style, but because of the fashion I’ve won in as well, it built me up to the position I am now.
“It’s crazy to think that just a few fights into this sport, coming from kickboxing, that a massive company like Bellator was interested in me. It’s progressed a lot faster than I thought.”
When asked how he feels about the fans of MMA embracing him so quickly, Page responded, “Especially for me, I didn’t know how I was going to do (getting into MMA), so to have that support behind me every step of the way has been important.”
Page is far from the first kickboxer to get into MMA, but few have had the kind of instant success he’s had. One reason he feels he stands out from others is that his background is slightly different than the rest.
“Everyone’s a different character, but they didn’t necessarily come from my style of kickboxing, which is completely different to the majority of the fighters that you’re going to see,” he said. “Not many fighters have come from my style of kickboxing, which is like freestyle points kickboxing.
“Having those elements has made me completely different and hard to figure out for my opponents.”
Page will look to keep his next opponent guessing when he takes on Ricky “Sniper” Rainey on Saturday night at Bellator 120 in Southaven, Miss.
“I think I just need to go out there and be me,” said Page. “I think (Rainey’s) got the bigger task in regards to having to figure out what he’s going to do against me.
“He’s quite a conventional kickboxer and has a solid base and is strong in his clinch work and so forth, but other than that, I feel very confident in this next fight.”
While he’s sharing the card with stars past and present, Page will have a lot of eyes on him, but he’s not going to let the pressure get to him. The way Page sees it, he’ll be in the sport a long time, so one fight isn’t going to make or break him just yet.
“I see my career is going to be long lasting and eventually everyone’s going to see and believe in the hype as well,” he said. “So for me, I’ve just got to go out there and be me. It’s a privilege to be on this show, but I’m going to just go out there and enjoy the moment.”