Former WWE champion Jack Swagger (aka Jake Hager) will make his MMA debut this January on the same night Bellator will crown a new heavyweight champion.
On Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Hager announced he will be facing JW Kiser on January 26th on the undercard of Bellator 214 from the Forum in Los Angeles, CA. It’s not clear if the fight will be on the televised portion or the prelims.
The 36-year-old was a two-sport athlete in football and wrestling at Oklahoma, the latter of which he was an All-American in. After graduating, he signed a deal with WWE in 2006 and spent several years in developmental before being called up to the big show. He made his debut for ECW in 2008 before moving to Raw in 2009. While in WWE, he won the WWE World title, the ECW title, and the U.S. title. He left the company in 2017 after asking for his release.
He has worked indie shows since then, but announced his intent in November 2017 to fight professionally. He has one more indie appearance remaining before going into his fight camp full time.
During his conversation with Helwani, Hager alluded to the fact he might not fight under his real name if some “legal filings” are done in time.
Kiser is 1-1, making his pro debut earlier this year in a Kansas City-based promotion.
Fedor Emelianenko will face Ryan Bader in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix finals in the main event with middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi defending against Rafael Lovato Jr. in the co-main event. Aaron Pico will also be on the event.