Jake Hager, better known as former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger, recently signed with Bellator MMA. He spoke with WrestlingInc.com owner Raj Giri recently about another wrestler-turned-fighter, Bobby Lashley.
Hager said he's still very good friends with Lashley and he has picked his brain about making the transition from pro-wrestling to MMA. Hager said Lashley was excited when he told him the news.
"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," Hager explained. "He was very excited about it. He had a big smile on his face and was very helpful about following right behind him."
Lashley hasn't fought in over a year, when he defeated Josh Appelt at Bellator 162 last October. When asked if he thinks Lashley would fight again, Hager said, "Yeah. Have you seen that guy? He looks amazing."
Hager believes that he, like Lashley, will be able to continue performing in pro-wrestling while competing in MMA. He said he was in talks with IWR at one point and would be open to working with them.
"I'm going to try and do both. My logic is one hand can help the other. As long as I have time to train, take the MMA side very seriously, I think I will be able to do it," he said. "We were in talks towards the later end, you know Dutch [Mantell] is over there and I would love to work with him again, so they kind of come and go, and I hate to say it, but they don't really like to pick up the phone and call anybody, but I would love to work for them though."
Hager also pointed to Lucha Underground as a promotion he'll fit well with. He likes how unique their presentation is and he's willing to do things he hasn't previously done in his wrestling career.
"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," he said. "I am good friends with [Writer and Producer of Lucha Underground] Chris DeJoseph so I would come there too. Even if they wanted to put me under a mask. I think it would be great. It has done great things for Brian Cage, Johnny Mundo, really good stuff and a really good platform."
Hager said he's been making a good living working the independent circuit in the meantime. He's enjoyed developing relationships with other promotions so he can maintain steady work.
"It is kind of like a supply and demand right now. You have to price yourself right in order to optimize your profit. I wouldn't say that it is more than the WWE but it is a nice living. I mean, it's only wrestling, there's no other side jobs with it," he said. "If you can go out there and develop relationships; to me, that was the hardest part because I am new to this side, so every relationship was something new, and a new business venture, so you really want to take focus on those and develop those because it can help you down the line to have steady work and great promotions."
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.