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Paul Daley: Michael Page showdown makes Bellator welterweight GP compelling

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NEW YORK – In terms of interest, Bellator welterweight Paul Daley compares his showdown with Michael Page to a pair of blockbusters between U.K. boxers Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank.

In terms of bad blood, it might fall short of “The Hate Game.”

After two years of back-and-forth, Daley (40-16-2 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) is ready to put the rivalry to bed and do his job against “Venom” Page (13-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA). The particulars of how he got to this point aren’t that important.

Daley traces the beef back to a post-fight interview where he cast himself as Floyd Mayweather to Page’s Adrien Broner. The whole thing took on a life of its own after that.


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“I didn’t mean to insult him,” Daley, who headlines Bellator 216 opposite Page, told MMAjunkie. “Obviously, there was something there already that he took it the way he did. I just meant I’m further along in the game. I’d been in the sport probably 10, 11 years before he started. He was never someone I had ambitions of fighting. When I returned to Bellator, it was always (to) go for the title.”

So far, Daley hasn’t been able to achieve that goal. Losses to Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch dashed any immediate chance of another title shot, so a fight in the promotion’s welterweight grand prix served as the best chance at capturing the title.

With the belt on the line and $1 million to the winner of the grand prix, Daley could scarcely turn down the fight. A meeting with Page in the opening round was simply a bonus.


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“If this fight wasn’t made in the tournament, the tournament wouldn’t be half as interesting, in my opinion,” Daley said.

The U.K. MMA standouts certainly have made the buildup to Friday’s DAZN-streamed event in Uncasville, Conn., a little more interesting with a raucous press conference. But in the end, Daley said it’s just about business.

When the dust settles, he’ll even offer Page a hand – after a knockout, of course.

“I would always be respectful, especially when someone is in a bad way,” Daley said. “I’d be happy to say, ‘Well done. It just wasn’t your day.’ But I’m just happy to be involved in the fight.”

For more on Bellator 216, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Photos: Bellator 215, 216 media day face-offs in New York

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