Former WWE Superstar and newly-signed Bellator MMA heavyweight fighter Jack Swagger recently did an interview with Wrestling Inc. to talk about his transition into the world of fighting. Check out the highlights below:
Not becoming an MMA fighter sooner: “I was set on going the pro-wrestling route. I had friends going out of college and guys I competed against and went into MMA and became successful,” he said. “Guys like Ben Askren, Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, and you saw what they did and what their careers turned out. There was a boom in popularity, but I pretty much in my mind that I was going into the pro-wrestling side of it.”
Being an MMA fan: “I was definitely a fan of it. I didn’t become too knowledgeable as far as the rules,” Hager said. “There was such a steep learning curve; you don’t always know what you are watching but I would watch the pay-per-views, gather around and have the big parties and watch the pay-per-views. Kind of like the wrestling pay-per-views to see how fans can really take something and make it so popular.”
Hinting at fighting in MMA in the past: “I guess it’s been in my head for a couple of years now. Sad but you go up there and talk about being unhappy about certain things, it is hard to find a way to change it, but I think when Dutch [Mantell] went over to Mex-America that was kind of the end for me,” he said. “Things got a little more serious for me as far as coming up with an exit plan. It still took another year after that before I was ready.”
CM Punk fighting for the UFC: “He’s a very smart guy. You can’t deny him that. I saw it as an exit business move,” Hager said. “It seems like he was passionate about it, but it looked more like a business move where he was going to make a lot of money so, as one of the boys in the back I couldn’t be mad about someone doing that. Was I a little bit shocked? Yeah, maybe, but at the same time I have known him for a while and kind of expected it a little bit.”
His thoughts on Bellator MMA’s heavyweight tournament (which he’s not a part of): “There are a lot of people in there so it is very hard to say,” he said. “Matt Mitrione has impressed me a lot. He is a big hard hitter. It is very interesting to see guys like Chael Sonnen and Ryan Bader locking up some size, but they will be faster and be able to move more. Then you have the ‘Bearded One’ himself, Big Country. Every match in that tournament is must-see it looks like.”
Who he’d like to fight in Bellator: “Yeah, not too far down the road. I respect Mir. I think he has a great story with what he has done to get there and the comeback, and the wins he has have been very impressive,” he said. “With Brock Lesnar, I don’t think there is a guy on the planet that wouldn’t want to fight Brock Lesnar so soon enough I will be able to throw my hat in the ring, so I will be ready.”
You can read Swagger’s full interview with Wrestling Inc. by clicking this link here.
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