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Jack Swagger becomes the latest among the list of professional wrestlers who are trying their hand at mixed martial arts.
Swagger, whose real name is Jacob Hager Jr., revealed during a sit-down interview with Ariel Helwanin on The MMA Hour that he left the WWE to fight in the octagon.
In explaining his decision, he said, “There are just certain types of guys that just need to be punched in the face, want to taste blood. I’m definitely like that. Maybe I got away from that for too long.”
At the apex of his wrestling career, he captured the WWE championship title, the ECW belt and the US Championship. However, he felt that he was being held back by management even if he thought he could “take anyone in the locker room.”
He also recognized that a lot of wrestlers or boxers have shifted to MMA, and he’s jumping into the bandwagon.
On signing with Bellator, rather than the much popular UFC, Swagger said the he felt respected and wanted by the executives. He said that he didn’t want to be a novelty to boost ticket sales. “I felt a lot of love from Bellator,” he said. “I’m here to compete and be a champion.”
ESPN said that Swagger became the third man from the entertainment wrestling circuit to transition to combat sports. The most successful, of course, was Brock Lesnar who debuted in 2006 and dominated the heavyweight division until capturing the UFC belt by beating legend Randy Couture. Now rumors are flying that the former wrestling champion is preparing a return to Octagon.
Another WWE superstar who made a shift to combat sports is CM Punk, who lost badly to Mickey Gall through a rare-naked choke during his UFC debut last year. Reportedly, Punk is not giving up on his MMA career just yet as he continues to train.