Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger recently spoke with The New York Post to promote his MMA debut against JW Kiser at Bellator 214 on January 26 in Inglewood, California. The full interview is at this link and below are highlights:
You've talked about not wanting people to think of you as CM Punk going into MMA. Does your college wrestling background put you more in line with a Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley, who were wrestlers before transitioning to MMA?
"I look at it like this. I had Division I (wrestling) coaches in junior high. I had Olympic coaches training me in middle school, so for most of my life I've been preparing for this exact moment. And without realizing it, it's brought me here. So, I really don't think there is a comparison between me and Punk. You can compare me with Brock because we were both Division I wrestlers. Bobby was an NAIA guy, still a very great competitor. But I feel like my striking and my ability and my conditioning in the cage is going to put me on top of both of those guys."
For people who tune in to watch your fight on Jan. 26, what do you want them to take away from watching you?
"I want them to take away that Jack Swagger could have been a multiple-time WWE world heavyweight champion. I want them to take away that they dropped the ball in letting me go. And I want then to take away that Jack Swagger, Jake Hager, belongs."
What are your thoughts on where the independent wrestling scene is right now, especially with All Elite Wrestling getting announced?
"I believe they're gonna change the landscape of professional wrestling. I think they're finally going to bring some competition to the big dog. I believe competition makes everybody better and I think it's really cool. We're in an unprecedented period of internet streams and peak in popularity on professional wrestling."
Is AEW someplace you would be interested in working in the future?
"Absolutely, you see what guys like Cody Rhodes, guys like The Young Bucks have done. Guys like Kenny Omega, who is expected to sign with them. They bring in Chris Jericho and he's like the world, you know, universal greatest of all time.
"It's so cool to see the momentum. Honestly, I feel like it started a couple of years ago with Drew McIntyre doing such a good job on the independent scene and really showing, at least a lot of the wrestlers in WWE, that there is life outside of the WWE and that the independent scene is a viable place to make consistent money where you can provide for you family. I absolutely would love to work with Cody and the Bucks. I invited them to the Bellator fight. So we will have to see if they show up."
Source: The NY Post