UFC 303: Michael “Venom” Page Says Fight with Garry Would Have Been Criticized In Other Promotions

Las Vegas — Bellator title challenger turned UFC star Michael “Venom” Page has jumped from one massive card to another in just two fights – the second coming Saturday at UFC 303 – with the promotion.

“MVP” notched a victory over Kevin Holland at UFC 299 in Miami back in March, and now finds himself with a high-profile match-up opposite Ian Machado Garry on the PPV portion of the UFC 303 card.

How familiar was he with Ireland’s Garry, and how much tape had Page seen of the rising, undefeated star? Zero, as it turns out.

“None to be honest. I’m a very lazy person when it comes to watching the fights,” Page admitted, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press during Wednesday’s UFC 303 media day. “I’m a bit of a casual when it comes to the UFC and other organizations. A lot of times I hear, when I get back to the gym someone’s like ‘oh did you see this guy and that guy,’ and if there’s enough talk I’ll go back and watch.”

Outside of the top names in the sport, Page reiterated that he’s a bit lazy when it comes to watching film, though he had seen clips of Garry before. What hit him, however, was the discrepancy of reactions inside and outside of the world’s biggest MMA promotion.

“It’s weird, in all honesty. It’s weird to me, because this type of a fight, had it been outside of the UFC, most people would have been like ‘you’re fighting a can.’ Most people would have been like ‘why are you fighting this guy?’ They would have had so many different things to say, and it’s the exact same fight in the UFC, and everyone’s opinions have changed now,” suggested Page. “‘Oh you’re fighting top level guys,’ and this and that. I remember at one point a lot of people were saying I wouldn’t be able to contend in the top ten. Now I’m fighting someone who’s ranked seventh, and a lot of people are like ‘yeah you’re going to kick his ass.’ It changes so drastically. For me, it’s just another fight.”

Michael Page made clear that those words weren’t a slight on Garry’s skills, despite him disagreeing with the notion that Garry is part of the “new wave” of striking in the UFC. Rather, the Bellator vet feels people read too much into the UFC branding.

“I think it’s standards and expectations put on myself, but also, just how warped people’s views are of reality. I’ve been saying for many, many years, I spar a lot of UFC guys. I already know I’m on that level,” stated Page. “I didn’t come here to prove it to anybody else. It’s a great cherry on top, but I wasn’t coming here to prove it to anybody else, I already knew I could do that.”

The negative pushback that Page felt in the past, with bookings against opponents like Ross Houston, who was undefeated when he faced Page, speaks to that.

“I understand the magnitude of UFC and the branding and stuff like that,” MVP said. “I feel like sometimes people are fooled by just the branding, and not the actual fighters themselves. And they’re not actually analyzing fighters and fights themselves.”

Watch the full UFC 303 media day appearance by Michael “Venom” Page.