Michael Page was his own worst critic following a decision win at Bellator 248 against Ross Houston.
“This was the worst I’ve ever had it. The canvas was so slippery, I literally couldn’t [execute] any of my game plans,” Page (18-1) said following the fight, speaking in a virtual media scrum. “My whole game derives around moving, moving my feet, being able to be agile, in and out, land shots, get out. I don’t know if people will be able to see it during the fight, but I had to change my style. I threw a punch and spun myself around.”
Page noticed opponent Houston was struggling with the canvas as well, he said. “He threw a kick, and nearly threw himself off.”
“Venom” didn’t place all the blame on a wet floor, mind you. “I made myself an average fighter, which made it a lot harder to cover the ground I needed to, to land the shots,” he admitted. “Then kind of had to play a grappling game. Which I’m happy to do, but don’t care for. I want to do a spectacular finish, have a spectacular fight. But it is what it is.”
For those watching, one upside was that Page showed glimpses of a more well-rounded game. But even that didn’t turn out to be a positive takeaway for MVP, who isn’t interested in proving wrong the critics who have accused him of being far from a complete mixed martial artist.
“Not really,” he said in regards to finding an upside to his performance, “and the only reason I say that is because I always say, I’m not here to try and prove to people that I’m a mixed martial artist. I’m here to win fights in the fashion that I would like to win fights. And it just wasn’t in that fashion, so this is why I’m heavily critical of my performance.”
Page was doubly disappointed as Bellator Paris was a “landmark event, and I really wanted to put on a show.”
“Yes, I may have been able to show other areas of my game, but I know I’m capable in those areas,” he explained. “A lot of people, just because they don’t see it, they assume it’s just not there. But I just don’t care to prove to people that it is.” His coaching, training, and sparring partners all know his game, Page added. “For me, it’s just about executing a performance that I would want to, and that just wasn’t it.”
Douglas Lima, Bellator’s current welterweight champ, is the latest to set his sights on double-champ status. That pursuit may very well result in Page taking at least one more fight before getting a shot at the belt. With that in mind, he’s not exactly a fan of fighters chasing additional titles.
“I don’t particularly care for it. I think it’s a bit of a fashion trend that [Conor] McGregor has kick-started within the MMA world. I get it, in terms of the individual, it shows an amazing achievement. To be able to go up a weight division, or down a weight division, which ever it is, and take another belt.”
That, however, “does hold up a division, and you have to do an interim belt, and it just becomes messy.” Page believes that when it comes to your average fan, it’s better to keep things “as simple as possible.”
“Especially now,” Page added. “I think just having one champ in a division keeps that simplicity, so when people are tuning in and watching and following stories going on it, it’s easier for them to stay and commit to the sport. Especially now where we have to prove ourselves as athletes and not barbarians.”
Watch the full Bellator 248 post-fight press scrum with Michael Page above.