– WrestlingInc.com recently interviewed former WWE Superstar Jake Hager (aka Jack Swagger) for the WINCLY podcast. Hager has fought twice in MMA so far this year for Bellator MMA and is 2-0 for his MMA career. Hager discussed his transition and how he feels vindicated by the move after leaving WWE. Below are some highlights from WrestlingInc.com.
Jake Hager on his transition into MMA: “When I left WWE in 2017, this was the plan. We could see pro wrestling really rising and becoming more popular so it was a good opportunity to leave and do both. The MMA team has been great and have been accommodating with my schedule. We have lulls when we don’t wrestle and we go harder and then times where I’m working on the [wrestling] shows. They’ve been onboard the whole time and understood what I’m trying to do as no one else is doing both – pro wrestling and MMA actively. It’s an exciting time.”
Hager on his success in MMA so far: “It’s really cool to see the progression since 2017 when I started the journey. To see where I was where I was struggling with kickboxing, to where I am now at 2-0 professionally is really cool. It gives you a lot of motivation to keep going because [it confirms] you’re on the right path. I left a very well-paying job that thousands of people would love to have for a better opportunity. Right now it’s a cool moment for my family and I feel vindicated.”
Hager on Bellator MMA: “Bellator has been amazing to work with. They’ve given me opportunity after opportunity and I’m grateful for it. I’m gonna put my foot down on the throttle and it’s time to show off a little bit.”
Jake on how life on the road for WWE is more expensive than MMA: “Definitely WWE because they are on the road for 200-300 shows a year. So, all of the road expenses, car rentals, hotels, meals, gym memberships, bottles of water – it adds up and then you take a big chunk out for taxes. Me training for MMA is such a blessing after 12 years on the road. Now I’m home with my family and we really needed it. It’s been a blessing for us to come together and my son is seven so I’ve been on the road for half of his life. MMA training is expensive but right now I’ve got an underground unit going with a bunch of guys here in Tampa. Everyone has their own schedule but we train together to get better…We push each other and it’s really been cool. That’s one thing I found out about myself when I left WWE: I’m that guy that needs to be pushed full throttle. That’s when you’re gonna get the best out of me.”
Hager on possibly renegotiating his Bellator MMA contract, which is a five-fight deal: “It’s about time for another [contract]. I’m expecting an announcement for the next date which would be the third [fight]. We have a good relationship and Bellator’s been great to work with. It’s one of those things that we can re-negotiate when the time is right.”
Jake Hager on if he’d make the jump to UFC and being happy with Bellator MMA: “I’m such a hooker – I do it for the money. Right now I’m very happy with Bellator so I’m not thinking about it. I have a long way to go as a fighter but I think I’m gonna jump a lot of levels really quickly. I think Bellator is the place for me to hone my craft and they have a great selection of heavyweights here. They put on a great card every time so it’s really exciting to be a part of that.”