Michael Venom Page is backing James Haskell to show himself as a real fighter after Bellator introduced they’d signed the former rugby star.
Haskell is due to make his MMA debut subsequent yr after hanging up his boots in May. Fight followers have already written the 34-year-old’s journey into MMA off as a publicity stunt, however MVP has been coaching with the 6ft 3in Haskell for years.
Haskell maintained a eager curiosity in jiu-jitsu and wrestling all through his rugby profession and MVP’s London Shootfighters has been his most well-liked health club of selection for years.
‘I’ve identified James Haskell for years. When he had his break between rugby seasons he’d come down and practice with us,’ MVP instructed Metro.co.uk.
‘He was always a person who was curious about MMA, he used to joke about becoming a fighter. But, I think in his heart, he always wanted to try it at least once.’
Haskell won’t be the first MMA star to transition from rugby, with the likes of Bellator’s Mike Shipman and retired UFC star John Hathaway additionally beginning off on a rugby area.
But the former England worldwide is cautious of being branded a laughing inventory, saying: ‘If I look like Freddie Flintoff when he got in the ring I’ll be f****** embarrassed.’
Sports stars and even actuality stars crossing over into MMA is an growing development. Bellator have signed Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers and WWE’s Jack Swagger lately hoping to exploit their already big fan base.
But, Page thinks Haskell’s rugby profession will profit him in the cage and dismissed the concept his new health club team-mate may make a idiot of himself.
‘Being a fighter, I think, is a mindset,’ MVP defined. ‘Fighters usually come from a specific background and I’ve at all times thought a good fighter will get his mindset from a combination of his tradition and his upbringing.
‘If you’ve been raised in a robust place, you’re ready to change that aggression on in that cage. If you’re not used to that, it may possibly be laborious to educate that.
‘James will have to deal with that. You have to learn draw from somewhere else.’
‘James is used to putting his body through hell. He’s been at an elite degree of a very robust sport, so I do assume he has the fighter mentality when it comes to the health club.
‘It’s whether or not he can carry that into the cage and maintain his composure. He ought to be used to the stress of battle night time, however he gained’t know till he’s there, standing in the cage.’
While many battle followers will be anticipating a harsh actuality test for Haskell, MVP is backing his fellow Englishman to tune out his doubters.
‘He’s very clued up as a person,’ he mentioned. ‘He understands he’s attempting it out and he’s not attempting to be fancy. He’s hoping for the transformation, however he’s not taking himself too severely.
‘He’s simply received to ignore all the stress and tune out the negativity and get on with it.’