“No,” he said swiftly and flatly when asked if he would shake Daley’s hand after the fight. “I genuinely don’t like him and I’ve never felt that way about any opponent. Even when we’re cussing and stuff at each other, it’s more just a thing you do, like tradition. You’re supposed to chat crap about each other, build it up and then go and shake hands, but I genuinely don’t like him. I’m hoping I retire him.”He added: “I’m hoping for 1) embarrassment, 2) frustration, 3) him just realizing that he was never on my level and 4), for him to just be hurt really bad and decide, ‘This is not for me anymore’ honestly.”Regardless of what happens this weekend, it looks like this feud that started with an off-the-cuff comment and has simmered for years isn’t going to end any time soon. As much as fans and observers will always lap up quality trash talk, there are times when you know you’re hearing rehearsed material — lines that were workshopped to have the greatest impact and garner the most headlines rather than being off-the-cuff responses born out of genuine dislike or contempt.The absolutely best is when there is no real trash talk, per se, but rather just two sides calmly and clearly expressing their honest feelings about their opponent and how they have been counting down the hours until they’re finally able to square off and settle things on their chosen field of battle.That’s the type of feud that exists between welterweights Paul Daley and Michael “Venom” Page. 🚨 IT’S FINALLY FIGHT WEEK 🚨@michaelpage247 vs @semtex_170 inside the @BellatorMMA cage this Saturday Only on DAZN 👊🏽#Bellator216 #BelieveTheHype pic.twitter.com/cByccZMhBw— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) February 11, 2019 The British finishers feel like they’ve been circling each other for an eternity, the tensions constantly simmering as their career paths slowly got closer and closer to crossing. After more than two years of build-up, the rivals will finally share the cage together, doing battle this weekend in a highly anticipated clash that is both the main event of Bellator 216 and part of the company’s Welterweight Grand Prix.Join DAZN and watch Page vs. Daley at Bellator 216 on Feb. 16As is often the case when it comes to ongoing hostilities between ultra-competitive individuals, the origins of the biggest rivalry in Bellator MMA history differ depending on whom you talk to, as does the potential for a respectful resolution once the fight is over.“I think hatred is a bit too strong a word,” said Daley when asked about the genesis of his rivalry with Page, which comes to a head in the final bout of Bellator MMA’s back-to-back events this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “A dislike of the guy is more accurate. I’d like to say we were friendly — not friends; I wouldn’t call him on the weekend and go out, but we work for the same organization — and it came from a comment. I was doing an interview, someone asked me what I thought about Michael Page and I said, ‘He’s talented, but I’m Floyd Mayweather and he’s Adrian Broner.’“Not that I’m an undefeated fighter, just that I’ve been in this game for a very long time and he’s a new kid on the block,” added Daley, who has logged 58 appearances over his 15-year career. “I didn’t think it was much of an insult, but obviously there must have been a crack in his personality for it to get to him in such a way.”While Page will corroborate several elements of Daley’s accounting of the events that led to this rivalry jumping off, like that they were cordial with each other and it was something “Semtex” said that rubbed him the wrong way, prompting him to fire back, it’s actually everything that preceded the comment that left him feeling a certain way and ready to take aim at the veteran welterweight.According to Page, who carries an unbeaten 13-0 mark into Saturday night’s main event, the duo were asked multiple times about fighting each other while making media rounds together and always passed it off with generic remarks about traveling their own paths and crossing that bridge if and when they came to it.Then Daley was asked about facing off with the undefeated rising star from London when Page wasn’t present and his response changed.“[Daley was] asked the same question and he’s like, ‘That guy’s not on my level, dah dah dah dah dah,’ very belittling and I just felt it was a bit unfair that he said it while I wasn’t there,” explained Page. “I found it a bit snaky, especially [because] we were cordial. We’d shake hands, chill, we’d been out for drinks together and it was cool, so for him to just turn in that moment kind of rubbed me the wrong way.”Page added: “I started firing back on social and I’m just a lot better at it, so when I started hitting him up, he really felt it and I don’t believe he felt like the backlash was going to come the way it did, which is why he is definitely angry at me and it just kind of built up from there.”And now, it’s coming to a head.As much as the banter between the British strikers has helped fuel the interest in this contest, the anticipation surrounding Saturday’s finale is about more than two competitors who aren’t particularly fond of one another stepping into the cage to settle their differences.MORE: Don’t talk about MVP’s antics without addressing his skillsFor the last several years, the hype around Page has been growing, increasing in intensity with each flamboyant finish, leaving many clamoring to see him share the cage with more accomplished, more dangerous foes. While he’s faced a few familiar names — Rudy Bears, “Cyborg” Santos, Fernando Gonzalez, David Rickels — all have been overmatched, passed their prime or a little bit of both, resulting in the 31-year-old’s winning streak reaching a baker’s dozen.Daley isn’t one of those guys.Despite still having a severe allergy to wrestling, the knockout artist from Nottingham remains one of the most explosive kickboxers on the Bellator MMA roster, as evidenced by his 2017 stoppage wins over Brennan Ward and Lorenz Larkin. He’s a seasoned veteran who has seen it all inside the cage and represents the toughest test to date for the flashy and charismatic Page.“I think it’s going to be a hard night’s work for him and I’m going to knock him out,” offered Daley, who had already amassed a 29-11-2 record at the time Page made his mixed martial arts debut. “He’s very fast, he’s tall and he’s got an awkward style, but all the stuff he does in between his attacks — his dancing, his jiving, his moving — you’ve still got to throw a punch. You’re not punching and doing breakdancing at the same time. You’re not doing a kick and spinning around. To attack, you’ve got to have a solid base and you’ve got to come forward and throw a shot, so everything in between, it doesn’t mean anything to me and I think I’m the first guy that he’s fought that knows that. He’s a light contact specialist who has come across a full contact martial artist.”Page, of course, feels a similar way about the weaponry and approach Daley brings into the cage this weekend.“Paul is a great kickboxer, but not a mixed martial artist,” said the unbeaten upstart. “I think his power is his strength, but you have to hit something for your power to take effect and one of my strengths is not being hit.”He’s hoping to hit the lottery in a fight and that’s not how you plan for a fight,” Page continued. “He’s only got Plan A; he doesn’t have B, C, D. He’s crap on the ground. He understands positioning to avoid certain situations, but in general, he’s not good all-around, but he is a good kickboxer.”While they share similar thoughts on how they match up — ‘He’s good, but I’m better’ — and how the fight will end, (in a KO), their feelings on whether finally resolving their issues inside the Bellator cage will bring this rivalry to a close are quite different.“I guess we’ll have to wait and see,” said Daley. “Both of us are alpha males, we have a lot of pride and we’re fighters, so we’ll see. It’s not nice to get knocked out on national TV and I’m going to knock him out, so whether he wants to shake my hand after that is going to be completely up to him.”Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearFor Page, the possibility of a handshake and putting this long-running feud to bed on Saturday night simply doesn’t exist. Rivalries are always exciting.No matter the arena or the combatants, a good feud always has a way of upping the ante. And they’re even better when the animosity between the two sides is organic.