Jack Swagger officially joined Bellator MMA just a couple of weeks ago, and already the former wrestler is looking toward whoever might be his first opponent. One name that has come up is that of another former wrestler, Bobby Lashley, and Swagger has some thoughts on that, says Wrestling Inc.
Swagger and Lashley go way back, and even though the two may someday wind up trading punches and kicks in the ring — for real, this time — Swagger (real name: Jacob Hager, Jr.) says that he and Lashley are good friends. In fact, when Swagger told Lashley the news about his (Swagger’s) move to MMA, Lashley was thrilled.
“We were at a show in Oklahoma, IWR [Imperial Wrestling Revolution] a couple of weeks ago; Impact Wrestling was there taping a pay-per-view. He was very excited about it. He had a big smile on his face and was very helpful about following right behind him.”
It’s been a while since Lashley fought an MMA match, however. The last time he appeared in the ring, he took down Josh Appelt at Bellator 162 in October of 2016. However, Swagger says that Lashley is certainly capable of fighting again.
“Yeah. Have you seen that guy? He looks amazing.”
— Wrestling Culture (@WWECultureNews) November 17, 2017
Meanwhile, other names are being tossed around as possible opponents for Swagger, according to Give Me Sport. Among those are Fedor Emelianenko, Roy Nelson, Matt Mitrione, and Chael Sonnen.
While he waits for his first match to be finalized, Swagger is still making a living in professional wrestling — just not as a member of the WWE brand. He’s considered working with indie-circuit brand IWR; in fact, he’s worked with IWR boss Dutch Mantell before and is open to working with him again. But, says Swagger, he needs to do the legwork to make that happen.
“They don’t really like to pick up the phone and call anybody, but I would love to work for them though.”
Another possibility is working with Lucha Underground, which takes the best of the Mexican Lucha Libre pro wrestling culture and delivers it to an American audience.
— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) November 16, 2017
“I really like their product. It seems different. The cinematography of it. It seems very ‘Hollywood-esque.’ I think it makes the characters look bigger. I think it makes the wrestling look different.”
Swagger is not the first former professional wrestler to try his hand at mixed martial arts. Batista and CM Punk both made the transition, with vastly different results. Batista, so far, has only completed one match, while CM Punk lost by submission in the first round against Mickey Gall.
Swagger, for his part, does have some experience in competitive sports without pre-scripted storylines and outcomes. Back in his college days, he was a standout wrestler (in actual, competitive, collegiate wrestling, not scripted “wrestling entertainment”) at the University of Oklahoma.
[Featured Image by Joachim Sielski/Bongarts/Getty Images]