Exclusives Interviews 6 March 2024

Michael Venom Page talks UFC debut, Dana White, career ventures & more

6 March 2024

As the UFC grows in stature with every event that unfolds, I pondered the thought of an athlete’s perspective to being listed on the main card at the iconic UFC 300 in April. One fighter highly considered to play a pivotal role would be debutant Michael Venom Page. A perfect introduction to a name who has stamped his authority, character and pure skill gracefully over the Bellator scene.

A martial arts perfectionist, MVP is gearing to arrive into Dana White’s empire and reign supreme from the moment Bruce Buffer’s euphoric calling commences. So much so, he’s happy to kickstart his career this Saturday in Miami at UFC 299.

Miami has played host to a selection of historic sporting events over the years. The Kansas City Chiefs claimed the 2020 Super Bowl, Formula 1 emerged as the newest sport to arrive in The Sunshine State, whilst Lebron James collected his inaugural championship ring with Miami Heat in the same centre Michael Venom Page tackles come Saturday night.

The task at hand may seem daunting to the masses, especially competing against a top 15 ranked Welterweight fighter in Kevin Holland, but MVP was made for the spotlight and boasts an abundance of experience in highly-anticipated bouts.

As the fighters prepare for UFC 299, we sat down with Michael Venom Page and touched on entering the octagon for the first time, meeting Dana White, expanding his career and much, much more.

UFC 299 awaits, how are you preparing and feeling ahead of your debut fight?

“It’s been intense. We’ve been putting in that work. We definitely understand the importance of that first impression. Although people know who I am, me in the UFC doesn’t exist until now. I want to make a stamp on it and I can feel it in training where my coach is putting me through hell! I’m looking forward to being myself.”

How long have you been training for?

“It’s been a little while. We’ve known about the potential of the fight for a while and we knew it would be big in terms of first fight. Seven months of just putting in work and the last eight weeks has been down to business.”

What are your thoughts on your opponent Kevin Holland and how have you mentally prepared for the fight?

“I can always look at things in two different ways. Objectively speaking and being a fan of the sport, I’m a fan of his character, how he is, I think he’s a great fighter. Now going against him, it’s just a great first fight to have. He’s a reputable name, tough guy and I generally feel I can be the first person to knock him out. That’s the goal. I feel like I’ve fallen short if I win and don’t knock him out. The goal is to get him out of there!”

Was there any talk with Dana White about this fight being on UFC 300 opposed to 299?

“There was never really talk about 300. I actually got the dates wrong and thought initially it was 300 but didn’t realise there was a show in-between! It couldn’t have worked out any better. One, I reckon the card itself is bigger than UFC 300! It’s also landed in Miami and all my family is from there. If I had to choose between being around my family and fighting at 300, it would’ve been family anyway. It landed perfectly.”

You’ve been sparring with Tom Aspinall – how was that and what are your thoughts on the current British UFC champions?

“I went down to see Tom for training and to talk for our podcast. It was good. Hearing him, he’s such a down to earth guy. He’s the kind of person that’ll make millions and nothing about him will change. He’s scheduled and I like that about him. Training with him, you can see how he thinks. Even down to his style, it’s not based about being the powerful guy, it’s about the technical aspect. Explosive. In general, the likes of Leon Edwards, Michael Bisping, Connor McGregor. It’s good to see how we’re lifting. I’m looking to join these names.”

Let’s say you defeat Kevin Holland. How many fights do you think it will take until you’re mentioned for a title fight?

“If I do what I know I can do, two fights. This fight, one more fight, title. The reason I say that, look at Michael Chandler the other day, he had one fight. I reckon I can make even more noise than that. I’m going to’ create the buzz myself. I’m the kind of person that if I need the attention, I’m not asking anybody. I’m going to create noise and make it myself. I’m going to create the demand and wait for UFC to send the contract!”

How’s it been with Dana White and crossing over to the UFC?

“To be fair, I’ve only spoken to him once before actually signing. I judged him the way somebody could judge me, watching me fights. It’s two different people. He was very calming, respectful. Welcomed me in. It was nice to have a conversation. I look forward to spending a bit more time with him.”

Touching on ring walks, Skepta’s previously performed for yourself. Can we expect anything similar for your debut fight?

“I’m definitely going to try and push the boundaries. I know UFC isn’t as flexible, but I’ll just apologise! Izzy’s had dancers come out with him, but they’re not as lenient compared to other sports. I’m creative, so we’re going to make something happen!”

Are there any dream venues you look forward to fighting at in the future?

“Definitely. Vegas is one and New York is the other. I’ve done Japan, I’ve done Dublin. Those were the key ones, but Vegas and New York I still haven’t done. I haven’t’ really considered Miami weirdly enough, but now I’m gassed for Miami. With the card that’s there as well, it’s going to be epic. With Dublin, the Irish supporters! There could be 5,000 of them and it sounds like there’s 50,000 of them and I love that. They love combat. Japan is the same, but the complete opposite at the same time. They love combat but they’re silent. There was like 30,000 people in the audience and I could hear everything.”

Does that help concentration or does is it become more of a difficulty?

“It didn’t feel like anything in terms of difficulty change. It was just a unique place to fight in. The way you can feel so many eyes, and no one is saying nothing! It makes you want to do more crazy stuff. Every time I do a kick, a quick roar then silent! I want that again. It was amazing fighting over there.”

What sport would you steer towards if not MMA?

“Golf. You know why? Less taxing on the body! Let me just hit a hole in one and get paid!”

What about outside of sport? Are there other goals you’re looking to achieve?

“I’m already doing a lot of things in the background. I’ve written scripts for TV show ideas. A comic and then a game. I’m taking acting lessons to then go into acting. I want it to be so in a years’ time, if I fight, I don’t need to spend any of that money and I’m okay. When I’m finished fighting, I want to know I’ve got things that I’m already tapped into that can keep me away from returning to fighting for the wrong reasons.”

Is that something you have to think about? Being in a sporting career which doesn’t last as long as other professions?

“I just find people don’t do it. You hear horror stories of people leaving sport, then want to come back and get knocked out by someone up-and-coming that should never knock them out. Their mentally and physically not there. You have to time things right. When I stop enjoying it or struggle to it, my time is done. If I can’t be 100% prepared, then I don’t want to fight.”

Have you ever thought about celebrity boxing?

“If I feel like I’m still capable to do it, then yes. Celebrity boxing, maybe not but there’s always a price that’s worthwhile. I’m not looking to embarrass myself. I would have to take it very seriously, which means when I get there, I’m trying to rip somebodies head off! I’m not letting a random YouTuber bad me up!”

What would you say is the best advice given to yourself along your MMA journey?

“I would say it’s being honest with yourself. That’s the best advice. Anytime I had conflicting opinions out there, all I had to do was search within and think am I really being myself? People are drawn to the realness rather than people trying too hard. People always like to give me advice. Especially with such a unique style. They don’t mean it in a bad way, sometimes its their own fears projecting towards you. The most common one is “Just put your hands up when you fight”. They mean it out of love, they want safety and success for me, but I’ve created my success from not putting my hands up. If I try to do it any other way, I’d probably lose but they wouldn’t understand that. I’m very confident that way.”

Will you bring this technique to the UFC?

“If I’m being true to myself, then yes. I have to be me!”

Is that a reason why you trained with Tom Aspinall? Your different weight classes but is it all about technique?

“I think it’s just good to work with different bodies. If I can get success from people that are bigger than me, then people my weight tends to feel a lot easier. Especially with the wrestling and grappling. I was working with a lot of big guys and sometimes it’s good to go to different gyms. Tom’s got a name so it drew a lot of attention. We do that a lot.”

Finally, who are three artist you’re currently listening to when training?

“Ayra Starr, she has got some bangers! I would say Sizzla, I’ve been going through his old school stuff. Also, Amapiano as a genre. There are way too many artists that I’m playing through. I’m killing the genre right now!”

Michael ‘Venom’ Page takes on Kevin Holland on March 9, 2024, live on TNT Sports at UFC 299: O’Malley vs. Vera 2.