Following graduation and a conversation with legendary pro wrestling announcer and fellow Oklahoma Sooner, Jim Ross, Hager made the transition to professional wrestling and signed with WWE.
"Bellator is pleased to announce that it has reached a multi-fight, multi-year deal with Jake Hager, who was formerly known as "Jack Swagger" during his almost nine-year run with WWE". I'd like to fight twice in 2018, ' confirmed Swagger to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour today.
'I'm definitely not on that CM Punk schedule. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion was a legitimate collegiate wrestling standout before his pro-wrestling days, taking All-American status as a heavyweight at Oklahoma in 2006, the same season he set the team's heavyweight single-season pin record with 30.
He made his WWE developmental debut right out of college for Deep South Wrestling, but once on the main roster in 2008, he excelled and captured numerous company's titles, including the WWE championship, United States Championship and ECW Championship.
Swagger's reign on top was short-lived, and his remaining years on WWE consisted of many stop-start storylines which failed to fully connect with the audience. Hager is 35 years old, and as he said, he's a long way removed from his time competing in amateur wrestling.
Hager said he has been training at the Ybor City Jiu-Jitsu Club in Tampa, Florida, for the past eight months. He has yet to fight again.
'I'm not a freak show coming in to take some money, I'm here to compete and be a champion'.