Jake Hager recently spoke with Wrestlezone’s Kevin Kellam ahead of his Bellator fight in Chicago on Saturday night. Hager, the former Jack Swagger, defeated TJ Jones on the card.
Hager spoke about his life outside of fighting and how it compares to traveling as a professional wrestler, and he said he’s thankful for everything he’s experienced so far, but enjoys his new lifestyle and being home more:
“Going from traveling on the road 300 days a year to being home, sleeping in my own bed, seeing my kids every day, taking my kids to school… if I had a rough day at practice, coming home to that support system is everything for me. I’m a big family guy and it has really been a blessing on me and my family. It was a great opportunity for twelve years to go up there [with WWE] and see the world. I’m from a small town in Oklahoma, so getting out there and seeing different cultures was a big perk for me. Now that I’ve done it, I like being at home. I don’t really want to travel too much, and it really does help me get better. I think I was at a point in my career where I really needed that. It was almost like a refresher, like I had to remember who I was because anything in entertainment, you slowly evolve and change your habits a little bit because you’re trying to fit that hectic lifestyle and that can change you. For me this was almost like a humbling, grounding ‘get back to work and remember what got you to the dance.’”
Hager also spoke about his potential career as two-sport athlete, saying he’s focused on MMA more now, but he’d absolutely entertain balancing a fighting and MMA career at the same time, like Bobby Lashley did:
“Absolutely. But we’re going to do it better. Right now, we’re a little more focused on the MMA because I want to get to a certain level and I still have so much to learn. I really want to focus on that and take care of business in that realm, but at the same time, pro wrestling is one of those things that if you go away from it for too long, you might lose the appeal. The wrestling fanbase is always evolving, so you have to stay current and stay in their head no matter how good of a career you had. It’s one of those things where you have to focus on both, and take the situation that comes up. [Looking at it like] this is a good opportunity, how can we do both, and I think you’re going to see a big crossover between wrestling fans and MMA, I’m sure a lot of them already are, but they are both becoming so popular. You’re going to see a lot of pro wrestling fans cross over into wrestling.
The best thing about pro wrestling is if you spend your money on a subscription or the old school way of buying a pay-per-view, you know what you’re going to get. You’re going to get your money’s worth. It’s always going to be good, and I think people are understanding that and seeing that.”
Hager was asked about All Elite Wrestling’s potential, and he praised the company for their following so far, even ending the conversation by teasing a potential landing spot for himself:
“You look at what those guys are doing without a major platform and how big of a following it is, it’s just incredible. How they are doing it through letting the fans in, showing the characters and telling stories in a different way, it’s very cool to see what they are doing. I always considered myself ‘elite’. Is it time for me to be ‘All Elite’? Maybe…”
Check out the full interview below:
Jake Hager On Potentially Balancing A Fighting And Wrestling Career