Jack Swagger aka Jake Hager is 2-0 in his Bellator MMA career but he's also doing some pro wrestling work on the side. He contends that was always the plan when he departed WWE and he talked more about balancing pro wrestling with MMA when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"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," said Swagger. "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."
Swagger won his last fight at Bellator 221 in May and he talked about the progress he's made in just two years.
"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," stated Swagger.
"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."
He admitted that his family struggled with income for a while but his wife has always been very supportive and now it's a fruitful time for them.
"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," said Swagger.
The life of a WWE Superstar is very different from the life of an MMA fighter and Swagger was asked which incurs more expenses.
"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," said Swagger.
"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."
Swagger said he signed up for five fights with Bellator but after an impressive first two fights, it may now be time to renegotiate.
"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," stated Swagger.
Many MMA fighters have started off in Bellator before making the jump to UFC. Swagger was asked if that's crossed his mind at this point.
"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," revealed Swagger. "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."
Swagger's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it, Swagger discusses working with Capitol Wrestling, teaming up with the Wrestling For Innocence project, his 2-0 Bellator record, what's next for him in Bellator, President Donald Trump's pre-Bellator fight call to him, his frustrations with WWE creative, R-Truth's 24/7 title runs and more.