Jake Hager On Now Being Portrayed How He Always Should Have, WWE’s ‘Cloud Of Doom’

Speaking with Sports Illustrated before his third MMA bout in Bellator this coming Friday, Jake Hager talked about achieving his goals in both pro wrestling and MMA once he left WWE. “I’ve worked very hard to get back to this point. It took time for it to pay off, but I feel so vindicated that I left that job and bet on myself.”

After cups of coffee in Major League Wrestling and Lucha Underground, Jake has become the muscle for Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle faction on Dynamite. It seems like the perfect place for the former World Heavyweight Champion. “Chris is so good, especially with his timing, that he makes everyone raise their game. I also admire that he’s not afraid to take risks and say, ‘F— it, let’s do this.’”

While stating that he wants to fight everyone from Rey Fenix to The Hangman in AEW, he also wants to remain competitive in the MMA world. According to AEW and Tony Khan, that’ A-OK. “As a fighter, I’m not one of those people that wants to prove I can go out and throw strikes. I’ve heard that I’m a wrestler and not a real fighter, but I have nothing to prove to anybody. All I want to do is go out there and win.”

When asked about looking back on his time in WWE, Jake sees himself in some of WWE’s upper mid-card talent. “When I look now at guys like Cesaro, guys like Bobby Lashley, they’re just lost. When I look at them, that whole cloud of doom comes right back over me. I’m so glad I’m not in that.”

Hager goes on to say that it’s a “big company” thing and that WWE knows “exactly what they’re doing” by keeping talent pinned at a certain level. “They want you lost in there so they can control you. They don’t control me anymore. Now, I’m finally being portrayed in the way I always should have.”

RELATED: Jake Hager On Fans Doubting His MMA Career, How Roman Reigns Would Fare In Bellator

Hager was also interviewed by Sherdog’s Keith Shillan ahead of his Bellator MMA bout against Anthony Garrett at Bellator 231 on Friday night. Hager discussed the crossover between pro wrestling and MMA, how fans have responded, and what wrestlers he thinks would do well in the sport. Check out that interview below: