Former WWE Superstar Jack Swagger is heading into a new sport.
He’s training to become an MMA fighter.
“The first couple months, boy did they hurt everything hurt,” Jake Hager said.
The glitz and glam of the WWE are gone as Hager trains for his first upcoming fight.
“This is very serious what I’m trying to do it’s a big risk I had a 10-year career at the biggest company in the world that I walked away from because I wanted to this,” Hager said.
Hager, who calls Tampa home, recently signed a deal to fight with the Bellator promotion, a rival to the UFC. He follows in the footsteps of former wrestlers turned fighters including Brock Lesnar and CM Punk.
“Anytime you have a high-level professional wrestler or someone that did well in college sports, boxing, MMA and they cross over into another combat arena it's always interesting for the fans,” said training partner Mike Nowell.
Hager says he’s been fully committed to MMA since his exit from the WWE in March. He hones his skills at the Ybor City Ju-Jitsu Club. His background, however, is rooted in amateur wrestling. Hager was an all American at the University of Oklahoma.
“You can definitely feel he has a natural instinct for this it’s like a fish to water,” said Nowell.
“I had 25 years of amateur wrestling background and then 10 years of entertainment it seems in 2018 that makes for a perfect MMA fighter,” said Hager. “The preparation is very similar so I feel very home at training now going out there in the bright lights we'll have to see,” he said.
His first fight is planned for the second quarter of 2018.