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Michael Page doesn’t think Ian Machado Garry is championship material: ‘Not at all’

UFC 303: Machado Garry v Page
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Michael Page may have fallen short against Ian Machado Garry at UFC 303, but that doesn’t mean he came away impressed by what he saw from the cocksure Irishman.

Page dropped a hard-fought unanimous decision at the June 29 pay-per-view, outclassing Garry on the feet but ultimately losing two rounds on the scorecards after succumbing to Garry’s grappling-heavy game plan. Afterward, UFC CEO Dana White publicly stated that the bout felt like a draw, much to Garry’s chagrin. But even despite the setback, Page’s takeaway was unequivocal when asked Wednesday on The MMA Hour whether Garry is championship martial in the talent-rich UFC welterweight division.

“Not all. No,” Page said. “Because if that’s the game you’re going to go [to] when you get a decent striker, then Leon [Edwards] is going to kill you anyway, then Shavkat [Rakhmonov] is going to kill you anyway. There’s a few guys in there that I just don’t see him surpassing.

“Even in some of the areas, he didn’t feel massively strong. I’m not even trying to be disrespectful to him, because again, he’s done his job, he was smart about how he kind of went by it. But for me, regardless, this game for me is about combat. It’s about fighting. Not about stealing wins. Even like I said, that last round, I didn’t necessarily need to stand up or need to let him stand up. I could’ve stayed there and just dragged it out and potentially got a better score in the third round and maybe that would’ve swayed it, but that’s not the game I’m in. I’m in a combat game. Like, I want to cause damage, I want to hurt people.

“So yeah, I don’t see him progressing to the top. I think he’s talented. I think he’ll always be around there, top 10, top five. And then he’ll keep losing out to certain people. But he is still talented, and obviously he’s got a loads of time to progress and get better anyway.”

Page, 37, is now 1-1 in his brief UFC career after scoring a blowout win over Kevin Holland in his promotional debut. His performance against Garry further showed that Page’s unique brand of striking presents problems for any contender in the UFC welterweight division, but he nonetheless remains disappointed in himself for the result. Page said he hasn’t yet watched the fight back, but he knows he’s going to be frustrated once he does.

“I’m tough on myself. I think there’s a lot of mistakes that I made,” Page said.

“I just wasn’t quite myself in there. For me, it just motivated me a bit more. Obviously, exactly what I said was going to happen happened. As much as Ian said he’s this level of a striker, he’s this fast, he didn’t want to strike with me. And I tell people the same thing all the time, when I’m bouncing around in front of you, it’s a very different game, and he went for a different plan. Again, there’s a couple decisions during the fight that I could’ve made and done better to maybe scrape the result, but that’s just not me.

“I prefer to go and get a big finish and I wanted to knock him out. So yeah, I’ve got a lot to adjust and adapt to, but I’m super motivated to get back. Super motivated.”

One of the big storylines to emerge from UFC 303 fight week was Garry’s accusation that an unnamed member of Page’s team offered $10,000 to a teammate of Garry’s at Chute Boxe for information on Garry’s preparation and game plan. Garry has continued to hammer that accusation in the aftermath of the bout, even calling for Page and his coaches to be “suspended for life” from MMA.

Page said he remains unclear about what Garry is speaking of.

“If somebody in my camp tried to [do that], no, I haven’t been told anything,” Page said.

“One hundred percent [it’d bother me if it was real], because I don’t need it. I don’t feel like I need it, especially for him. And again, I’m trying not to be disrespectful to him, because it’s not personal at all, but I don’t feel like I needed to get any extra information to do what I know I can do — or should’ve done, should I say — in that last fight.”

Page said he is currently on vacation but is already itching to get back into the gym. He is uninjured from the bout and fully expects to compete at least one more time in 2024, and he’s happy to test his skills against any 170-pound contender UFC wants to throw at him.

“I just need to get back in the winning column and in true ‘MVP’ fashion,” Page said. “I still feel like I haven’t actually showed myself in the UFC cage.”

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