Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

One of the hardest things about running a promotion like Bellator is that most of your stars are looking to bounce into the UFC sooner or later. That’s just the nature of the beast: there’s no one playing in the Canadian Football League that wouldn’t jump ship to the NFL if the call comes in.

Of course, that CFL / NFL comparison doesn’t exactly carry to MMA perfectly. Bellator pays a lot of its fighters more than they’d make in the UFC, and some of those higher paid fighters also get way easier fights in Bellator than they would in the UFC. Someone who enjoys both of those benefits in Bellator? Michael “Venom” Page, who is more than ready to give your broadcast a highlight reel finish so long as you don’t put him up against someone in your top 5.

Yet after 7 years with Bellator, even Page is interested in moving on to test his skills in the UFC.

“I enjoy Bellator. I enjoy where I’m at and I enjoy my success so far,” Page said on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast. “But I definitely feel like I need to touch the UFC at some point and just test myself there as well. There are some great matches to be made over there. So I definitely think in the future … I don’t know when, obviously I’m contracted to being in Bellator, and I’ve got some goals to achieve there as well. I feel like I’m close to doing that. But until then, I definitely still see myself going [to the UFC].”

“If I’m being honest, when I first started, the only reason I started fighting was to go to the UFC,” he added. “That’s the biggest thing and it’s obviously still one of the biggest [promotions]. There’s a lot of shows popping up. But in general—especially when I was started—anybody that was getting into MMA, their goal was to get to the UFC. The majority of people are still the same.”

Page is currently on a 5 fight winning streak and is expected to rematch Douglas Lima for the Bellator welterweight title, the only man who has defeated him. He’s also the stiffest competition Page has faced, and one of the small handful of fights that hasn’t been a blatant “Venom” showcase fight.

Page’s last win came on May 7th against Derek Anderson, ranked number 6 in the new Bellator ranking system. And in classic “Venom” style, he smashed Anderson’s nose to oblivion in the first round, forcing a doctor’s stoppage. Douglas Lima has the 25-0 Yaroslav Amosov to face in June before a bout with Page can be set up. Will Michael wait, or face another fighter further down the top ten?

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