It’s been two years since Jack Swagger left WWE on his own accord after requesting his release. Since then he has dabbled on the indie scene but has also taken up MMA and recently had his first pro fight.
Under his real name of Jake Hager, Swagger defefeated J.W. Kiser at Bellator 214 in January. Swagger joined WINCLY to discuss his MMA career and his mentality after his debut.
“I’m very excited for what the future holds. Being 1-0 after leaving a dream job at a big company [WWE], I feel pretty good,” said Swagger. “I feel vindicated and feel that I made the right decision?I’m thankful I have a great team around me and in about a week or so, we’re gonna get back in there for the two-a-days and the fight camp. It’s a really exciting time right now.”
WWE groomed Swagger from a developmental prospect into a two-time world champion so they had to be sad to see him leave. Swagger revealed if Vince McMahon congratulated him after his MMA debut.
“Yea he sent me a $10,000 check congratulating me,” joked Swagger. “I tore it up and said ‘This is chump change, Vince.’ I sent him a video tearing up the check? I’m just kidding [laughs].
“No we haven’t had a chance to speak, but telepathically I feel his well wishes.”
Swagger made some comments after his fight about two other crossover wrestling/MMA athletes in CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. Swagger said those two didn’t want to get punched in the face in their respective fights and Punk responded by tweeting: “You shouldn’t either. Good skill this weekend, pulling for you.”
Swagger was asked if he and Punk had communicated since then to clear the air.
“No, I don’t think it’s one of those things where it needed to be cleared because in that message he wished me well. So it wasn’t that much of an issue,” said Swagger before adding that the media may have made more out of his original comments than intended.
“It is what it is. He had a great response as he always does. So, it’s not one of those things that needed to be cleared up.”
Swagger’s next fight is at Bellator 221 in May. He is scheduled to face T.J. Jones and talked about how his training is going.
“This is my second full week practicing. I think we’re gonna do six days this week and add running to it,” stated Swagger.
“It’s a very addictive feeling getting your hand raised in there. Everyone says that beforehand, but until you get in there, you just don’t know.”
Swagger admitted to losing his cool when he won his first fight but that victorious feeling is what makes him eager to fight again.
“I lost my cookies. It was awesome,” Swagger said on the first win. “It was a great rush so I’m eager to get back to work because of that feeling.
“T.J. is a big, tall guy. He’s a boxer so he’s gonna have hands so I’m gonna have to adjust accordingly. Get him up against the fence and get him down on the mat.”
Many saw Swagger’s MMA venture as just a one or two-fight deal, but Swagger revealed what his plans are if he wins his second fight.
“I think I can commit to a little bit more than that,” Swagger said of two fights. “I’m confident in what we’ve built and I’m confident I can have success as we move up the ranks.
“A loss here or something else and all that hard work is down the drain. Right now, I just wanna stay focused and stay to the routine that worked the first fight.”
The full audio from Jack Swagger’s exclusive Wrestling Inc interview was included as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard in the embedded player below. In the full interview Jack discusses being victorious in his Bellator debut, his friendship with R-Truth, the future of Lucha Underground, Arn Anderson’s WWE release, the launch of AEW and more.