MVP targets title fight against Leon Edwards

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Michael Page sensed the UFC’s interest in him even before entering negotiations.

This Saturday marks Page’s UFC debut as he faces Kevin Holland in the highlighted main card bout at UFC 299. While he was a major star in Bellator, the welterweight fighter openly expressed his desire to eventually join the UFC. Interestingly, Page reveals that the UFC reciprocated that interest.

Towards the conclusion of his contract with Bellator, Page had the flexibility to explore non-MMA fights, leading to his bare-knuckle bout with Mike Perry at BKFC 27. It was during this time that the UFC indicated its keen interest in Page.

During the UFC 299 media day, the Englishman said:

“Interestingly enough, their first reach out was kind of a mistake on their part, because it kind of showed their interest. Basically, when I did my bare-knuckle fight, and I announced I was going my bare-knuckle fight, people reached out, ‘Does that mean he’s a free agent?’ Obviously the UFC reached out like, ‘Is he a free agent?’ So we’re like, oh, somebody’s interested, huh! [Laughs.]

“So obviously that was it initially but we were like, ‘No, no. Still with Bellator. I’ve got this amount of time left and we can speak thereafter,’ and the conversation remained open, if you know what I mean. So it kind of started from there. It’s weird. It was a bit of a longer process in the beginning and then it sped up right towards the end, to the point where even the announcement of the fight, we hadn’t even confirmed everything three days before. So it’s been a crazy ride, a roller-coaster ride.”

With an impressive 21-2 record in his professional MMA career, Page gained prominence in Bellator with his remarkable knockouts and entertaining style. As he gears up to face the similarly charismatic Holland, “MVP” sees it as the perfect introduction to UFC fans.

“I keep telling everybody I feel like we’re going to have the first live, in-cage podcast with me and him talking. It’s such a great fight for so many different reasons. He loves to strike, I love to strike, his entertainment factor, he likes to talk, I like to kick people in the face. It just works.”

Beyond the excitement of the fight, Page, like Michael Chandler before him, aims for an immediate impact and a quick path to a title shot. The 36-year-old British fighter believes that a notable victory over Holland will contribute to achieving that goal.

“I don’t do things just to make up numbers. We’re here for the belt. I’m here to get the bling. Getting to the top is key, which is why I start with somebody the likes of Kevin Holland. It needs to be that type of challenge. I don’t have time to try to build myself up, and I don’t need to. That was a conversation that I had with the UFC. They were equally in agreement with that and I think they’ve shown their intentions by giving me Kevin Holland first.”

“The reason I got a fighter of this standard, this level is their intentions align with mine of wanting to be at the top,” Page added later. “I always say the added value I think I bring is I’m very capable of marketing myself without anybody. I’m very good, I’m very aware of how to utilize certain spaces to help market myself, and I think they understand me with a title and my brain, and how to market as well, it’s great for everybody, all parties involved. So definitely, this win will put me up there.”

Given the current absence of a set opponent for welterweight champion Leon Edwards, a spectacular win could propel Page to the forefront. Page emphasizes that a title fight between two English fighters would be among the most significant events in the United Kingdom.

“Stadium type big. It’s so good for the U.K. It’s so good for inspiring more talented fighters in the future coming from that side of the world. I’m just going to keep manifesting, I’m going to keep putting it out there, and we’re going to make it happen.”

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