Jake Hager, better known as Jack Swagger amongst professional wrestling fans, had an MMA career that went pretty much unnoticed. Before WWE and AEW, Jake Hager was an NCAA All-American wrestler, much like other WWE wrestlers who went to MMA like Brock Lesnar. In his career at Oklahoma, Jake set the record for most pins in a single season for the 285 pound weight class, a very impressive feat. After college, Jake entered the WWE under the name Jack Swagger, a technical wrestler, using his NCAA past as a big part of his character. In the WWE he was a one-time ECW Champion, a one-time World Heavyweight Champion, one-time United States Champion and won the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2010. In 2017, Jake was granted his release by the WWE to venture into other promotions. This is when Jake Hagers MMA career began.
On November 13th, 2017 Jake announced he had signed for a fight for Bellator MMA as a part of their heavyweight division. A full year passed all the way to December of 2018, when he’d announce he was making his debut on January 26th, 2019 against J.W. Kiser. The whole time in preparation for this fight and through 2018, Jake was still wrestling professionally while training for his first MMA bout. J.W. Kiser was heading into his third fight against Hager, being 1-1 at the time and coming off of a TKO win over Mike Edwards, but this didn’t scare Jake in the slightest. At Bellator 214, Jake Hager submitted J.W. Kiser in two minutes and ten seconds with a triangle-choke, making quick work of him. Four months after his first fight, Hager was set to face T.J. Jones at Bellator 221. Just like his first bout, Jake submitted T.J. with a triangle choke in only two minutes and thirty-six seconds. A quick 2-0 start both by submission made Jake’s MMA career start to look promising.
Jake’s first fight came in October of 2019, only five months after his second bout. In this fight, Jake was set to face Anthony Garrett. After one minute and fifty-six seconds, Jake went for a knee that went to the groin of Anthony. Watching it back you can see it was unintentional, but the fight ended and was ruled a no-contest. Once COVID hit, MMA as a whole slowed down, and Jake was preoccupied with Cody Rhodes new company AEW, wrestling for them while having an MMA career. Jake’s most recent MMA fight was in October of 2020, a whole year after his third one. At Bellator 250, Jake faced Brandon Calton at heavyweight. After three full rounds of action, the fight was deemed a decision win for Jake Hager, his first time going the distance.
A 3-0 career including two submissions is quite impressive for the AEW star Jake Hager. The now thirty-nine year old’s last fight was the one in October of 2020, so who knows if he will fight more in the MMA, or if he’ll stick to AEW where he is doing phenomenal. In his AEW career Jake has already earned two Dynamite Awards, won the “Bleacher Report” PPV Moment of the Year in his Stadium Stampede match in 2020, and was awarded the “Biggest Beatdown” award when his team the Inner Circle jumped Orange Cassidy. Jake has had an above average professional wrestling career, and the same goes for MMA, so who knows what could have been if he chose MMA the whole time? Maybe Jack Swagger is holding heavyweight UFC gold instead of WWE gold. Jake Hagers MMA career so far has been nothing short of exceeding all expectations, and I can’t wait to see more from Jake. If you enjoyed this article I wrote one a few articles back about Batista’s MMA career, have a great day, Shaney out. WE. THE PEOPLE.