Tonight is the night that everything culminates for Jake Hager.
The current Lucha Underground Champion Jake Hager is set to have his first professional MMA bout tonight at Bellator 214 in Inglewood, California against J.W. Kiser. Hager has spoken with a number of outlets on the buildup to his pro fight debut including 'The Telegraph'. Hager makes sure that he represents his pro wrestling background in every interview and the land of WWE will be represented at 'The Forum' in the form of R-Truth performing his "That'z Endurance" single for Hager's Bellator entrance.
Hager said during the interview that he hopes to fight under the "Jack Swagger" name one day and added that he wants to make MMA great for professional wrestlers.
"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." He said. "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.”
Hager spoke about the rigorous training process that comes with preparing for a professional fight. He shared that there were times when he got frustrated because he was constantly getting hit and not returning any offense. Hager closed his statement by saying that the key is having a "don't care" attitude and he'll see how that works for him tonight.
“It’s a very tough thing to do because one, you don’t want to get injured. You have to be in training everyday learning. Especially someone like me, I’m very green to the sport. But it’s one of those necessary evils. It’s like social media, everyone hates it but you have to do it." He explained. "You have to learn how to punch and your body learns how to react. Your natural instinct when people are throwing punches at you is to back up. That just makes it more dangerous for you. You’ll get hurt that way. You’ve got to teach yourself to go forward, move your feet and move your head. I’m not going to lie, that was tough for me to learn. Hopefully I did learn it. There’s been times in the room where we’re just doing boxing or kickboxing and I get pissed off because I’m just getting hit," he said. "I want to go to my double leg, but I’m not working on that -- that day. Luckily when I’m in the cage I will have my double leg and I can use that to go forward. You have to unlearn that. You have to really say I don’t give a f*ck, let’s go. That’s why we love MMA and on Saturday we’ll find out.”
MMA Insider and Fightful's own James Lynch will be present at Bellator 214 and has a number of interviews up on the Fightful MMA & Boxing YouTube channel from the Bellator media scrum and to view those exclusives, click here.