Former WWE star moving into the world of MMA

By @saihoops on
Jack Hager, Bellator
MMA - Mixed Martial Arts - UFC 212 Reuters / Ricardo Moraes

Jack Hager, a former WWE world heavyweight champion, is set to make the transition from sports entertainment to the world of MMA next year. Hager has reportedly signed a multi-year, multi-fight deal with Bellator -- the second biggest mixed martial arts franchise in the world after the UFC.

Hager went by the name "Jack Swagger" during his nine-year stint with the WWE. A native of Oklahoma, Hager was a renowned collegiate wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, where he was an All-American and set the record for most pin falls at the 285-pound heavyweight class in a single season (30). After graduation, Swagger transitioned into the world of professional wrestling. 

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s something that’s a part of me, so it makes sense. I’m very happy with the deal. I’ve felt a lot of love from Bellator. I think there are certain types of guys who need to be punched in the face and taste blood. I’ve always been a fan of MMA, I’ve been wrestling since I was five years old. It’s awesome to be with Bellator. They’re really going to put 100 percent towards it," Hager said via a press release issued by Bellator.

Bellator plans to feature Jack Swagger in heavyweight class

Scott Coker, the president of Bellator, beleives that Hager would bring a new set of fans into MMA due to his history with the WWE. “I’m excited to see Jake Hager debut for Bellator in 2018. When I heard he was seriously interested in competing in MMA and when you look at what he did at the collegiate level, I was very interested in having him on our roster. I think Jake will expose new fans to Bellator from his previous run with WWE and he will be given every opportunity to prove that he’s the real deal inside the cage.”

In recent years, the likes of CM Punk and Dave Bautista also attempted to excel in the octagon, but to no avail. Jack Hager's history as a collegiate wrestler arguably gives him a better chance to succeed in the cruel word of mixed martial arts.