The heavyweight veteran got an opportunity to face Swagger because of a recent win on a regional MMA card.
“So, it kind of went down like this. I fought Michael Edwards on December 1st in Kansas City for Kansas City Fight Alliance, I was told by the promoter Joe Rouster that I needed to win this fight because Bellator wanted me to fight Jack Swagger (Hager). I did not even think for a minute it was Jack Swagger/Jake Hager, I didn’t even really care. All I saw on thew text message was Bellator and I was like ‘yes…sign me up, I don’t care who it is, lets do this.’ Then after I went in and knocked Edwards out, I came out and got a hug from my manager. He says ‘keep January 26th open’ and literally…it was kind of a surreal moment, I was feeling pretty good because I got a win…a knockout. We had sold a lot of tickets, a lot of friends and family were there. For him to just whisper in my ear ‘keep January 26th open,’ I was like ‘wait a second…its the Fedor/Bader fight man.’ I’m still kinda on cloud nine by it, its an exciting/surreal feeling,” says Kiser to Fightful’s James Lynch.
Kiser does come into the fighter with a minor experience edge over Hager, as he has fought twice as a pro to Hager’s zero.
Hager is the betting favorite heading into the but, but Kiser feels that the odds makers don’t have a clue about MMA.
“Obviously I’m a B-List fighter, (this is) Hager’s first fight ever. I got all of the respect in the world for Hager, I met him…he’s a really nice guy. Its nothing personal, but I’ve got 52 fights. There is some things you learn in the cage that you cannot be taught in training camps or if you have never been in there, Vegas has me losing at 25 to 1 odds. I feel like they don’t have a clue about MMA, the odds makers…what are you guys thinking man? In 52 fights that I’ve been in, there’s a level of…I’m sure he’s ready physically…but he’s not ready psychologically. I don’t know if anybody is in there first fight, win or lose…you are not ready,” says Kiser.
Bellator 214 takes place on Saturday, January 26 from The Forum in Inglewood, California with Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on the Paramount Network.