But after getting some distance from the moment and seeing the controversy surrounding his split decision over Douglas Lima in the pair’s main-event rematch on Friday, Page is changing course. He’s not satisfied with his win at Bellator 267. He’d rather run things back with the former Bellator welterweight king before he turns his sights toward gold.
“In all honestly, I’m probably going to push to just get this one back again,” Page told reporters in London at his post-fight media availability. “Let’s do five rounds. Why not? Let’s go longer. Because if by the end of the third, that had happened again, I’ve got two more rounds to find you and finish it properly. If I balance [my in-fight aggression] — I’ve gone from one end to the next, so hopefully I find that in the middle — then I finish him.”
Page eked out a contentious victory over Lima at Bellator 267 in a result that divided both fans and judges. Two judges — Eric Colon and Doug Crosby — scored the bout 29-28 for Page, with both men awarding “MVP” the first two rounds. The lone dissenter, judge Ben Cartlidge, scored the contest 29-28 the other way, giving Lima the first and third rounds.
It was a competitive contest nonetheless, and one that could springboard Page to his first Bellator title shot after eight years with the promotion. “MVP” has won six straight fights since the lone loss of his career in his first meeting with Lima in May 2019.
But for Page, the welterweight belt isn’t the be-all, end-all of his MMA journey.
“I’ve been telling people from the beginning. I feel like no one really listens. I don’t care about the title,” he said. “It’s a belt — who cares, man? How many people [are there] that are titleholders that are nowhere near as popular as I am? The belt doesn’t mean anything. It does obviously, but for me it doesn’t. I swear to you.
“That moment there [in regards to the feeling in London’s SSE Arena], there’s so many beltholders in Bellator that couldn’t pull that off. I could say that with confidence. There are a lot of people who cannot pull what I did off today, and I feel like people are drawn to me because of my enjoyment for the sport, not because I’m chasing anything. And like I said, it’s more about me and my journey. I want to prove things to myself. I didn’t get to prove that today. I won, but I didn’t get to prove what I wanted to prove, which is just make his eyes roll into the back of his head and not get back up, so I prefer to run it back.”
Despite any controversy, Page certainly had his moments. He tagged Lima several times on the feet in the first two rounds, including a second-round knockdown that saw Page drop the Brazilian with a lunging right hand behind the ear.
And after avenging his prior knockout loss to Lima, Page couldn’t help but delight in seeing how a fearsome striker like the ex-welterweight champion approached Friday’s rematch.
“A lot of people always like to second-guess my style and how good I actually am. But even someone like him, I kind of nullified him,” Page said. “And again, once again, I’ve made someone that is known for knocking people out decide to be like, ‘No, forget this, man. Let’s just go on the floor.’ And he still couldn’t do much, but he still was happier there than having me bounce around in front of him.
“So I feel like I’ve proven my talent in terms of my striking ability.”