Jack Swagger (aka Jake Hager) is finally ready to make his professional MMA debut at Bellator 214 on January 26, 2019, according to the Wrestling Observer. He’s scheduled to step in the Bellator cage against JW Kiser, who has a 1-1 record in professional MMA fights. Swagger’s record is 0-0 in professional MMA, and he has no amateur fights on record.
The still-active wrestler first announced that he would join the professional MMA world on November 13, 2017. It was originally announced that he would make his official fight debut in 2018, but he’s going to just barely miss that timeframe.
Swagger’s fight was announced as part of the undercard for the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader fight, but it’s not clear as of this writing whether it will be featured on the televised portion of the card or if it will take place on the prelims. Either way, fans should be able to watch him make his debut, as Bellator traditionally airs the prelims on its website.
While Jack Swagger may not have any MMA experience, he is a legitimate athlete, having competed in both amateur wrestling and football in Oklahoma. He wasn’t just a member of the wrestling team; he was named an All-American, which is no small honor for those participating in wrestling.
After college, he inked a deal with WWE in 2006 and debuted in ECW in 2008, before moving to Monday Night Raw in 2009. During his WWE and ECW career, he won the WWE World Championship, the ECW Championship, and U.S. Championship.
Ultimately, Swagger asked for his release from the WWE in 2017 and his request was granted. He’s been performing on the road as an independent wrestler while training to make his professional MMA debut. According to the report from theWrestling Observer, Swagger has one more independent wrestling appearance scheduled before he goes into full fight preparation mode.
At this time, we’re not sure whether he’ll fight under the name Jack Swagger or Jake Hager. Apparently, if some “legal filings” are done in time, he’ll be able to fight under his stage name, which could help draw a little more attention to the Bellator 214 card since fans may not be aware of his real name.
— You Dont Know Jack (@RealJackSwagger) December 3, 2018
Here’s what the Bellator 214 card looks like so far with the addition of the Swagger fight:
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader
- Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr.
- Aaron Pico vs. Henry Corrales
- Jack Swagger vs. JW Kiser
- Mike Segura vs. Richard Leroy
- Jorge Juarez vs. David Pacheco
- Jay Jay Wilson vs. Tyler Beneke