Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion was recently interviewed by Ring Rust Radio. You can check out the full interview above, and submitted highlights below.
Ring Rust Radio: Last week, you signed a multi-fight, multi-year contract with Bellator MMA. You will fight in the heavyweight division and are expected to make your debut in 2018. What went into your decision to sign with Bellator and why did you feel MMA was the right career path right now?
Jack Swagger: I really like Bellator and them as a company and how they are run. It’s a popular place for fighters to go to. It seems there has been a mass exodus from UFC-controlled contracts and I really like that especially coming from the WWE to have a little more freedom and feel a little more love as a talent. As far as why MMA, I have been a pro-wrestler for 10 years now but an amateur wrestler for 25 years. It’s really who I am and something that has been a part of me. I have been thinking about doing it for a long time and wanting to do it and combat sports is so popular right now. It’s really cool to see independent wrestling and professional wrestling growing and being so cool and MMA is exploding with all this competition. There are so many good rosters and with what these guys are doing in the cage is really phenomenal and cool to watch. It’s an honor to train for and be a part of.
Ring Rust Radio: As an All-American at the University of Oklahoma, you dominated collegiate wrestling. How will you use that experience to make the successful transformation to MMA?
Jack Swagger: Most professional fighters have an amateur career, so I am going to have to rely heavily on my amateur wrestling career. I anticipate it’s going to be a similar mindset on how to train and prepare and how to go into a fight like it is going to be a division one collegiate wrestling match. I’m going to rely a lot on that especially with the technique. Just the experience I got working at colleges like the University of Oklahoma both in their football and wrestling programs. Some of the best in the country in strength and conditioning, preparing, peaking at the right times and taking care for your body. I think I really got my degree in that from there.
Ring Rust Radio: Signing with Bellator was a move that made a lot of waves and likely added even more value to your brand both as a mixed martial artist and a wrestler. With that said, do you plan on dedicating your time solely to MMA, or do you have interest in doing both MMA and wrestling, much like Bobby Lashley does currently?
Jack Swagger: Absolutely. I think pro-wrestling and MMA are so hot right now and I want to use one hand to help the other. At first, I will still do pro-wrestling, I have a certain amount of days that I can wrestle that is in the contract with Bellator. That is how I am paying the bills right now and it’s nice. I think what I am trying to do with this is it’s a game changer for my brand where I can cross over with something I am good at and have another career. That other career and other spotlight and what you can accomplish over there will only help you as a pro-wrestler to become more popular. There is still a lot going in to getting over, but I think this is a unique opportunity and it came around and felt like a once in a lifetime and I really had to jump at it. I am glad I did.