Former WWE Superstar Jack Swagger Talks About His Future in MMA


Jack Swagger, the former WWE Champion and collegiate wrestler, is the latest athlete to try his hand at the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

Jack Swagger (real name Donald Jacob Hager, Jr.) had an interesting nine-year run with the WWE. He was a two-sport athlete from the University of Oklahoma and was set on an early path of success after signing with the WWE in 2006. Before aligning with the ECW brand, Swagger would win the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship and then became the FCW undisputed heavyweight champion after defeating Southern Heavyweight Champion Heath Miller. He lost the belt to Sheamus just after his main roster début.

Despite only being with ECW less than a year, Swagger picked up wins against notable superstars such as Tommy Dreamer and Matt Hardy and even winning the ECW Championship before being traded to Raw in 2009. Swagger would go on to win a Money in the Bank contract several months later and successfully cash in against then-heavyweight champion Chris Jericho during an episode of SmackDown in 2010.

During his time with WWE Swagger also held the United States Championship and was a member of the SmackDown team that defeated Team Raw during the 14 man elimination tag team match at the second (and last) Bragging Rights pay-per-view event. His time with the company was marked with ups and downs and a popular run with Cesaro and Zeb Colter as the polarizing faction known as The Real Americans, whose “We the People!” declaration was well-received whether he was a heel or a face.

Swagger was released from the WWE earlier this year and wrestled a few independent matches before formally announcing his new contract with Bellator MMA in November 2017. He recently spoke to Ring Rust Radio and explained why he believes he can succeed where others have stumbled:

"“As far as why MMA, I have been a pro wrestler for 10 years now but an amateur wrestler for 25 years. It’s really who I am and something that has been a part of me. I have been thinking about doing it for a long time and wanting to do it, and combat sports are so popular right now.”"

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WWE superstars who have traded the squared circle for the octagon have been a mixed bag. Most famously, Brock Lesnar formally left the professional wrestling world in 2007 and amassed a 5-3 record and a reign as Heavyweight Champion in the UFC before returning to the WWE in 2012. On the flip side, former WWE superstar CM Punk departed the company in 2014 and thus far has had one match in the UFC where he was forced to submit to Mickey Gall in the first round. Somewhat ironically, Punk’s MMA loss occurred at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio which is the same venue where he had his last match with WWE.

The lack of MMA success of other former WWE superstars such as Dr. Death Steve Williams and Bam Bam Bigelow likely weighs heavily on Swagger’s mind as well as the skeptical mind of fans. Despite these missteps, we should nonetheless be supportive of his decision because like so many others before him, Swagger is a competitor and has the advantage of an athletic background as well as a solid frame that stands 6’5 and weighs 275 pounds.

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There has been no formal announcement for Jack Swagger’s first match or opponent but he will likely compete in the heavyweight division some time during 2018.