Jack Hager, formerly known as Jack Swagger in his WWE days, is the talk of the MMA world after a brutal display in his professional MMA debut. Hager/Swagger plied his trade in World Wrestling Entertainment from 2006 – 2017, but has made the switch to MMA.
He made his debut in Bellator on Saturday, pulling off a stunning first-round victory. Hager came out to the octagon with an introduction reminiscent of his wrestling persona, with current WWE superstar “R-Truth” Ron Killings rapping his walk-out song.
Swagger had to eat a punch to get inside early but he wore it well. From there, Hager softened Kiser up with strikes, landing a series of elbows that created an opening for Hager to connect his hands on an arm-triangle choke and secure the tap. Kiser did well to defend Swagger’s early advancements, but the 36-year-old eventually scored a good enough position to lock in an arm triangle choke.
It was a dominant effort from the former collegiate wrestler, who did exactly what was expected of him, playing to his strengths, taking the fight to the canvas and securing the first-round finish. With his first MMA victory in the bag look for Swagger to re-enter the Bellator cage as soon as possible. The more experience he can gain in 2019 the better idea fans have of his actual skill set. Until then, the verdict is still out on the former WWE champ.
Ayeeeeee, Congrats to the homie @RealJackSwagger with the tapout win for his @BellatorMMA debut. THAT is what wrestlers do….WRESTLE!!! When you’re the best in the world, that’s how you prove it. Congrats!!! ~PHS #WeThePeople #Bellator214
— Elijah Burke (@DaBlackPope) January 27, 2019
Speaking with John McCarthy following the official decision, Hager said he wants to make MMA his life for the next decade. “Right now it’s going to be Jake Hager, that’s what the billboard will say. But in the future I hope to fight under Jack Swagger,” explained the 36-year-old.
“I’m making MMA great again for pro wrestlers. I don’t know if I’m trying to confuse MMA fans who are new to me with four different names, but it’s a work in progress. I definitely want to bring that persona, charisma and character into the cage.”