Since joining the promotion in March of 2013, British welterweight Michael Page has quickly become one of Bellator’s rising stars..

Sporting a perfect 6-0 record, the flashy, sport karate stylist will be facing his toughest challenge to date when he takes on Nah-Shon Burrell at Bellator 128 this weekend.

The MMA Corner caught up with Page by way of phone earlier this week, as the man they call “Venum” spoke on a variety of subjects, from facing Burrell to his dream of becoming the Michael Jordan of MMA.

The MMA Corner: You come from a unique, sport karate background. How do you translate that style so it’s effective in the cage?

Michael Page: I think the style itself is extremely effective already. The things that we have to be careful of are basically where we finish our shots, making sure that we’re in a safe place so that we’re not getting taken down, or we’re able to defend the takedown straight away. A lot of that has to do with leaving yourself long, wrestlers or jiu-jitsu guys can get underneath you quite easily, so you just got to be careful about that and there’s certain things you have to look out for to make sure it’s effective. But other than that, the style itself is based around being long, and people can’t take that.

TMC: Recently we’ve seen a lot more karate-influenced fighters enter the cage, from Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson to Conor McGregor. Do you think we’ll see more karate style techniques be adopted by MMA practitioners as a whole?

Page: 100 percent. I think it’s going to be another revolution to the sport. It’s going to make the stand-up style way more exciting and way more explosive and people are going to train it a lot more. As more and more people start to adjust to the style and it keeps working for them, then the more other people are going to start to learn about it and adopt it to their style of fighting as well.

TMC: I know you’re super involved in the sport karate world and are trying to launch your own organization, correct?

Page: It’s more I’ve kind of taken over what my dad was doing at the club level. So I’m not doing an organization just yet, but it is something I’m looking to get into, run, and hopefully expand. I want to be the crossover person from our sport to MMA.

TMC: Do you feel the sport karate scene is growing? Are people taking to this style of martial arts?

Page: Yeah, I think it was quite big anyway, it’s just not well publicized at all. You’ve got massive events, even in America there’s massive events, the World Championships are in Orlando, Florida. Again, it’s just not really publicized quite enough and there’s not much money in the sport because of it.

TMC: In your opinion, why don’t you think sport karate gets publicized enough?

Page: I honestly believe, well, two things. One, there was a time when it had it’s, you know, day. It was when a lot of people were focusing on kickboxing and different martial arts styles, like Jean-Claude Van Damme and that, they all came in and they started blowing up kickboxing. The Jackie Chans and all those people were on TV, but I don’t think they capitalized well at that particular time. Nowadays, obviously, they have the resources to do it, but I feel that the promoters of the sport let us down and all they’re doing right now is just trying to make a quick buck off the fighters. We pay for absolutely everything we do, so I think they’re scared of maybe losing money or spending more money to eventually make the sport bigger. They are just happy making the couple of pounds here and there and that’s it.

TMC: Switching gears to your fight, how do you think you stack up against Nah-Shon Burrell?

Page: I think it’s a good match-up for me. He’s experienced and established, but at the same time, he’s a striker as well. I think any striker against myself I feel comfortable with; obviously being on my feet, I’m used to striking. I think that alone allows me to express myself a bit more.

TMC: Do you expect him to stand with you or do you think he might change up his style for this fight?

Page: I think most people are exactly the same. What they do is start off, they want to test themselves and, basically don’t believe my striking is that good. They watched my other fights and are like, “He’s not going to do that to me.” But when it starts to happen in the cage, then they to start to adopt a different approach. So I think everyone has that. Even Ricky Rainey, he’s known for his striking, and he tried to take me down after a point because he was like this is not working. If that’s not your normal game, then obviously you’re not going to be rsuccessful.

TMC: Say you win on Friday, have you put any thought to who you might want to face next? Do you want to face a top level opponent? Do you think you’ll be ready for a title shot soon?

Page: I feel I’m getting closer to it and I think, when the time is right, yeah, I will be there. To be fair, it could be within the new year. I think the time will come, maybe later on in the new year. But I’m not in a rush because I just want to make sure that, when I do have that belt, I don’t take it and then pass it on to somebody else. I’m not trying to play pass the parcel with anybody, I want to make sure that the belt is mine.

TMC: You’ve been compared to Anderson Silva a lot due to your flashy fighting style, but you seem to be pretty humble outside the cage. How do you balance bringing an attitude into the cage with being respectful and humble outside of it?

Page: It’s weird, I think people try to do stuff, I don’t try to do stuff. This is how I am outside the cage, and what you see in the cage is how I am inside the cage. I’m Michael Page outside the cage and I’m Michael inside the cage. That’s it, I don’t try to be anything. I just keep it honest and be true to myself.

TMC: So you don’t feel any pressure to trash talk or engage in social media call outs?

Page: Not at all. What I think, for me, I think that I’m lucky enough to have a style that shouts very loud anyways. My style does a lot of talking for me. My style also has a lot of people talking amongst themselves which means I’ll end up getting another fight anyway, whatever fight I wanted. I don’t think I need to call anyone out, that’s not even necessary. The more I keep just doing myself, the more I’m going to attract the best athletes.

TMC: What is your ultimate goal in martial arts? Is it to rack up the belts, transition into movies, etc.?

Page: 100 percent, my goal is to become the biggest face in MMA, like, I’m talking the Michael Jordan of basketball type. I want to be absolutely massive, so the titles and stuff, that’s just something that will come with being that person. Yeah, you know, movies are actually something that I’ve been talking about before, but it’d be something I do later on. I do want to achieve a certain amount of success within the sport. I don’t want to cut myself too short or try and do both at the same time, it’d be a bit distracting. I want to make sure I’ve achieved as much as I want to achieve within MMA, and then, yeah. maybe later on I might be looking to getting into that.

About The Author

Staff Writer

Matt Juul is loving college life as he pursues a career in journalism and cinema. A writer and pop culture fanatic, his interests and expertise range from arts and entertainment to the rough and tough world of mixed martial arts. Matt’s work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Boston.com, Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, and the New Haven Register.