Five Potential Names for Michael Page’s Rumored UFC Debut

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Given the revelations made in Michael “Venom” Page’s appearance on The MMA Hour Monday morning, the idea of Page landing in the UFC was always going to be a possibility.

Page told famed journalist Ariel Helwani that he is currently “unemployed” but that Bellator reserves the right to match any offer he may receive. Scott Coker’s Bellator has been fairly forgiving to fighters looking to see what else is out there, and particularly so to those who have fulfilled multiple Bellator contracts.

Page also told Helwani he would be at UFC London this weekend, and now rumors have begun to swirl regarding “MVP’s” imminent signing with the promotion. With Page, 36, free to negotiate, there appears to be a fit for him in the UFC. He has delivered a handful of viral moments both inside and outside the Bellator cage over his 11-year career, but it is fair to wonder how those moments might be remembered with the UFC promotional machine supporting them.

Rumors surrounding Page’s future are unlikely to subside until an official announcement is made from either himself or his future home. However, if the UFC is next for “MVP,” fight fans have plenty to be excited about as there are several great matchmaking options for him in the UFC welterweight division.

Without any further ado, here are five potential opponents for Page’s rumored UFC debut.

Five Potential Michael “Venom” Page UFC Opponents

Stephen Thompson/Michel Pereira Winner

Initially, I mentally pegged the loser of this UFC 290 matchup to perhaps be in line for a fight with Page. However, upon closer examination, Page’s age and the UFC’s aggression in signing him could indicate a desire to therefore push him more aggressively. Besides, if Thompson comes up short against Pereira, a move up to middleweight might finally be in the cards, especially with Robert Whittaker now seemingly out of the title mix at 185.

Both fights are fun stylistic matchups that would serve as a great introduction for Page to UFC fans. Both fights are also winnable for the Bellator vet. While “Wonderboy” and Pereira both employ kick-heavy styles, neither man boasts the fight-ending power of Page at this present moment. They will, however, be keen to strike with him, and in Pereira’s case “Venom” might even be the fighter to bring the wild man out of him that has been kept tucked away during his recent five-fight winning streak.

Joaquin Buckley

Joaquin Buckley might not have a number next to his name, but if the UFC are looking to ease Page and simply use him in fun stylistic matchups, it doesn’t get much better than fighting Buckley. Buckley is, after all, the owner of one of the most viral UFC knockouts of all time when he finished Impa Kasanganay with a jumping spinning back kick upon release.

Page is no stranger to viral moments himself. His knockout of Evangelista Santos, one that caved in “Cyborg’s” skull has nearly five million views on YouTube, and several more of his knockout compilations, as well as his BKFC fight with Mike Perry, are up to more than two million views. By matching Page up with Buckley, the UFC could put the winner of the fight on the fast track to stardom, as another viral knockout for the books is likely to follow suit regardless of who is on the receiving end.

Li Jingliang

Li Jingliang has been through a lot. The welterweight riser is a legitimate Chinese star not named Weili Zhang who also brings a heap of punching power to the table. Though his English is limited, Li comes across as a star thanks to his infectious smile and suit game. Unfortunately, “The Leech” has been mired in a run of bad luck. The UFC first tasked him with the duty of trying to become the first man to hand Khamzat Chimaev an “L.” While he rebounded against Muslim Salikhov, Li was then scheduled to take on Tony Ferguson in a fight that could have launched him to new heights. However, Chimaev’s weight cutting debacle forced the UFC to get creative on the fly, pitting Li against a new opponent in Daniel Rodriguez on just 24 hours notice. Li arguably defeated D-Rod, but the Nevada judges saw things differently. Meanwhile, Chimaev’s antics cancelled the pre-fight press conference, costing Li an opportunity to show off his expensive suit.

Clearly, this is a man who deserves something good to happen to him, and a high-profile fight with a debuting “MVP” would be just that. Even if you were to ignore everything you just read, the stylistic matchup more than checks out and would make for an entertaining pay-per-view main card bout.

Neil Magny

Neil Magny may not be the fighter he used to be, but he still carries plenty of name value for casual and hardcore fans thanks to his longevity and reputation for putting on entertaining fights. Magny’s style is that of a cardio king who can attack dynamically, change levels, and eventually break his opponents. He has done just that to former welterweight champions Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks among others, but at 35, Magny has likely already put on his best performance.

If the UFC are looking to give a guy like Page the most beatable opponent with the biggest name, it’s probably Magny. The Elevation Fight Team standout has been finished in three of his last four defeats, and Page definitely has the power to get his attention. He is also currently without an opponent after defeating Phil Rowe at UFC on ABC 5, and is ranked 11th at 170 pounds. Regardless of how you feel about the UFC rankings (I’m not a fan), the UFC can fast track Page to the title in three fights or less if he opens his UFC run with a victory over a tough veteran like Magny.

Jack Della Maddalena

The expectation seems to be that Maddalena, who escaped the Apex with a split decision victory over former Fury FC champion Bassil Hafez this past weekend, will be rebooked against Sean Brady at a later date. Maddalena, a native of Perth, also expressed a desire to fight on the UFC 293 card, which is scheduled to take place at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. But what if Brady, who is currently on the mend from Bursitis, isn’t ready or is unwilling to make the trek Down Under?

Enter “MVP.” The stylistic matchup that could be in play for a matchup of this caliber goes without saying. A fight between Page and Maddalena might even be the most eye-catching stylistic matchup on this entire list with “JDM’s” boxing going up against “MVP’s” unorthodox brand of kickboxing. The only thing standing in the way of a potential fight is whether or not the UFC believes the fight could be made at a later date with greater stakes involved.

Still, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so don’t be surprised if the UFC goes in this direction. The timing for both fighters couldn’t be more perfect.

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