The images on his skin tell a story. The tattoo of a zia on his shoulder represents his lifelong home of New Mexico. The images on his chest speak to his faith. Under the ink, however, there’s a body that has been through a lot. The scars and healed injuries that lie within tell another story. They tell the story of a fighter who was once among the top bantamweights in the world. They tell the story of a UFC and WEC veteran who has lost five of his last six fights. They tell the story of a 31-year-old man who is determined to climb back up the mountain once again. They tell the story of Damacio Page.

Page (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

Page (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

“Big injuries, not small ones. Shoulder injuries, neck surgeries. I just couldn’t put my groove together,” Page told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I’m finally feeling good, and knock on wood, it’s been two years since my last injury.”

In 2009, Page was riding high in the WEC. His lone loss in the promotion had come against Brian Bowles, and Page was 15-4 overall since debuting in the sport in 2005. He had earned a decision win over Scott Jorgensen, posted a “Knockout of the Night” in his demolition of highly ranked Marcos Galvao and submitted Will Campuzano in just 62 seconds.

After the win over Campuzano, the injuries mounted. Page was forced out of two fights before finally taking to the cage in late 2010 to face Demetrious Johnson. Johnson submitted the Jackson’s MMA product in the third round. The UFC still invited Page into the Octagon, but the downward slide didn’t end. The bantamweight fell to Bowles again, then followed with losses against Brad Pickett and Alex Caceres. The loss to Caceres prompted the UFC to release Page. In 2013, Page returned to the win column with a first-round knockout of Patrick Ybarra, but then suffered a split decision loss to Marcelo Costa in a fight in Switzerland.

“I’m not making excuses, but the guys I fought are very tough—former champion, right now current champion at 125 [pounds],” said Page, referring to former WEC bantamweight kingpin Bowles and reigning UFC flyweight champion Johnson.

The 31-year-old, who now sports a 16-9 career mark, will be fighting a much younger and less experienced fighter in Matthew Lozano, who is only 25. The bout is scheduled to take place Feb. 21 at Legacy Fighting Championship 28 in Dallas.

“This fight’s at 130 [pounds],” said Page. “Then we’re going to take another fight in two months and get down to 125.”

Page (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

Page (Andy Hemingway/Sherdog)

However, Page can’t look too far forward into the future before taking care of business against Lozano. Lozano, a Bellator veteran, only has five fights under his belt. He has won four fights and suffered a decision loss to Tuan Pham. The Team Total Domination fighter has taken three of his victories via submission and one by way of knockout.

“He’s a pretty good jiu-jitsu guy, ground guy,” said Page. “He has decent striking, but I think as long as I do what I have to do, I win the fight.

“He’s fighting the big dogs now. I’m not a nobody. I’m someone who’s been there, done that.”

Since getting cut from the UFC after his fight with Caceres in July 2012, Page made some big changes to his diet. Those changes have allowed him to plan his move to flyweight. This is all part of Page’s evolution as he grows into a more intelligent fighter with age. That extends not only to his diet and a move to the 125-pound ranks, but also to a shift away from his previous reputation as a fighter who would abandon strategy in favor of a good brawl.

“Me growing up, I’m smarter with training and I’m adjusting my game plan,” Page admitted. “For this fight, I’m incorporating all my stuff—striking, wrestling, jiu-jitsu. I can’t just be a one-trick pony.”

Sometimes, a fighter needs a fresh start. They need to put old injuries behind them, and perhaps even shift their focus to a different division. Only then can they revitalize their career. Only then can they begin to write the next chapter in their story.

Damacio would like to thank Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA and Elevate Strength & Conditioning. Follow Page on Twitter: @damaciopage

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.