How ‘The Rock’ helped UFC up-and-comer Michael ‘Venom’ Web page develop entertaining persona

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By Stacy Connor


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When the Kaseya Heart went black and the bell tolled, a roar got here from the UFC 299 crowd in Miami two weeks in the past. 

As “MVP, MVP, MVP” chants had been heard, Michael “Venom” Web page walked out with a black cloak and smoke bellowing from behind him. For those who know WWE, the signature music within the background as he walked into the sector confirmed him clearly paying homage to The Undertaker together with his now-iconic entrance in his UFC debut towards Kevin Holland. 

Web page is all about entertaining. Whether or not it is the suspense of seeing his entrance, the dancing throughout his stroll to the ring, or his favourite half — placing on a present for the group within the octagon — he is aware of followers will keep in mind him regardless of the place his title is on the combat card. 

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Michael Page during UFC 299 entrance

Michael “Venom” Web page of England prepares to face Kevin Holland in a welterweight combat in the course of the UFC 299 occasion on the Kaseya Heart in Miami on March 9. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC through Getty Pictures)

The 36-year-old has actually fought lengthy and onerous to get right into a UFC octagon, the place he’s now 1-0 after defeating Holland by unanimous determination. However, identical to the UFC 299 broadcast stated, Web page’s title is understood all through the combating world. 

Fox Information Digital met up with Web page whereas he was in New York to speak about that leisure aspect, and when the Undertaker introduction was introduced up, it was clear he’s a giant WWE fan.

But it surely wasn’t simply wrestlers like The Undertaker that helped Web page develop his model within the sport. 

“For me, The Rock is without doubt one of the greatest by way of crowd involvement and issues that he does,” Web page, who’s 22-2 in his blended martial arts profession, advised Fox Information Digital relating to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. “I haven’t watched anybody else that would do this. WWE as a platform on the whole is one thing that does that commonly. Incorporate the group, the group loves it. The villains, the heroes, all that form of stuff. 

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“So I sat down for hours — and the factor was I used to be watching him from about 10 or 11 (years previous). The ‘Angle Period’ was my period. Stone Chilly (Steve Austin) and Goldberg had been my favorites, then The Rock and Eddie Guerrero.”

RISING UFC STAR MICHAEL ‘VENOM’ PAGE TALKS UNCONVENTIONAL STYLE THAT ANGERS SOME IN FIGHT COMMUNITY

When Web page determined he needed to compete professionally in MMA, he knew that branding could be key.

“I believe it’s simply one thing that’s at all times been necessary to me on the whole,” he stated. “So, once I first stated to myself, ‘I wish to get into MMA,’ [and] I advised my household this was 100% what I used to be going to do, I used to be additionally, like, ‘Properly, how do I market myself?’ As a result of I hearken to sure individuals on the mic, they usually can’t discuss particularly after that pleasure, burst of adrenaline. You simply knocked someone out and also you simply don’t hear something. I wish to be that man that delivers clear strains, and it’s one thing followers can keep in mind as effectively. I’m excited about every part.

“Issues that I say, how I ship it, physique language, issues that I do the place individuals can go, ‘Ah, I keep in mind that man as a result of he did that factor.’ You’re watching 16, 17 bouts in a day. What makes me the one which stands out?”

So, a then-24-year-old Web page would sit down and watch The Rock for hours, writing down how he would deal with the group and his opponents. 

Michael "Venom" Page walks out at UFC 299

Michael ‘Venom’ Web page of England prepares to face Kevin Holland in a welterweight combat in the course of the UFC 299 occasion on the Kaseya Heart in Miami on March 9. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC through Getty Pictures)

“I didn’t even know I used to be going to combat. I used to be simply making the transition,” he stated. “I at all times take into consideration the entire image.”

Greater than a decade later, Web page did precisely what he meant to do in UFC 299, right down to the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, who was shocked to see how calm he was after beating Holland. 

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Regardless of the grand entrances and unconventional combating fashion, which incorporates dancing within the octagon, Web page’s persona is one he is crafted for fairly a while. 

And like all artist, he additionally will get “random spots of inspiration,” identical to earlier than he knocked out Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos in Bellator in July 2016.

Web page was together with his household — as one among 9, they’re at all times round to bounce concepts off — when his brother thought the nickname “Cyborg” for Santos seemed like a Pokémon. On the time, Pokémon Go was an enormous fad. 

So, when a flying knee landed completely on Santos’ brow to knock him out, Web page rushed to his crew and bought a Pokémon hat and Poké Ball to “catch” him. 

It was an entertaining end to an entertaining bout. And although some view Web page’s combating fashion and flashy entrances as cockiness, he views it as years of onerous work which permit him to precise himself how he sees match. 

Michael Page poses for picture

Michael “Venom” Web page of England poses for a portrait after his victory in the course of the UFC 299 occasion on the Kaseya Heart in Miami on March 9. (Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC through Getty Pictures)

That is why loads of thought was put into the Undertaker entrance, although he admitted eager to do one thing associated to a magic trick as a substitute. 

“Talking to the household, I used to be like, ‘I kinda wish to do like a magic trick-style form of factor,’ as a result of I wish to make the doorway actually loopy,” Web page stated. “However I do know UFC goes to be a bit tentative about what [you’re] allowed to do. So I used to be, like, let me attempt to make it so simple as attainable for them, however nonetheless have impact. They nonetheless chopped fairly a number of huge bits away, however I nonetheless managed to form of land with one thing nonetheless to entertain the followers.”

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Within the octagon, Web page is at all times going to offer it his all. However win or lose, there is not any doubt in his thoughts that followers will go away happy due to the leisure worth he brings with him, regardless of the opponent. 

The UFC can actually odor what Michael “Venom” Web page is cooking. 

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