Fans have been critical of the way Michael Page has been booked while in Bellator MMA. His most recent match-up at Bellator 153 will see him take on 31-year-old Jeremie Holloway, another giant underdog.
Page understands that he has developed slower than fans have wanted him to. He insists that he is taking the smart approach to developing his skill set by not rushing to the top of the sport.
“I understand why people are impatient because they feel like they’ve seen me around for a long time already. But at the same time they’ve also been watching me as a beginner, going into the intermediate level and now the more senior level,” Page told Bloody Elbow.
Unlike most MMA fighters, Page was thrown into the spotlight after his first professional fight. His tornado kick knockout went viral, bringing him a ton of attention. That attention had a downside as it added pressure on Page to compete with higher level fighters early on in his career.
“If I didn’t pull off that kick, people wouldn’t have heard about me until 4 or 5 fights in. I wouldn’t be on the main stage until that time. It’s just straight off the bat I was put into the limelight.”
Unlike other prospects, Page didn’t want to derail his own hype train by taking on top level competition. Instead, Page took time to develop his skills outside of the cage while putting on dynamic performances inside of the cage.
“If I had started MMA younger or maybe even had more amateur fights to begin with, then I probably would have just jumped right into the deep end. Because I went straight into pro, I still had a lot to learn.”
Page also insists that his fight with Holloway wasn’t the initial plan, and that his fight after Bellator 153 will see him take the next step up in competition.
“I kind of asked to get another fight in before the summer started, so this one was more of a last minute thing. It’s just another fight.”
Page was expected to face MMA veteran Fernando Gonzalez in March at Bellator 151 but withdrew due to a prior commitment. He expects his next few fights to be against the same level of opponent as Gonzalez.
Bellator 153 takes place this Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The card is headlined by Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov defending his title against former UFC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson, in Bendo’s Bellator debut.
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