Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion-turned-Bellator MMA heavyweight Jack Swagger was recently interviewed on Submission Radio. Swagger discussed why he left WWE, if he’d beat Brock Lesnar in wrestling, if he ever needed to use his amateur wrestling inside the WWE ring, and much more. Submission Radio sent us these highlights:
On why he left the WWE:
“Well, you know, the WWE, it’s a dream job, but it’s like any other job where there’s politics and you got bosses that you have to deal with. And so for me, in the great words of Drizzy Drake, the moment I stop having fun with it, I’m done with it. So it got to the point where, not that I wasn’t having fun, because going out there in front of thousands of fans and wrestling, it’s what I’m born to do, but it came to a point where I wasn’t there for the same reasons that they were having me there.
“Like, I need to compete, and that’s one thing that I take away from leaving WWE, is I’ll never go this long without competing again because it’s a part of who I am. And when I’m not competing is when I will struggle with things because I’m not going 100 percent or focused 100 percent. So for me it was a combination of two things, I needed a change, I needed to be pushed, I needed to be challenged, and also it was a great opportunity, it was a great time to leave.
“It’s a great time to be a pro wrestler right now. As you guys said, I’m working non-stop since I left the company. It’s also a great time to be a pro fighter. So that’s also why I left. I knew that I had this opportunity ahead of me and that I needed to leave to focus on it and really give MMA 125 percent, as well as capitalize on the great TV exposure that I received over the last 12 years.”
If Jake ever wrestled Brock Lesnar backstage to find out who the better wrestler was:
“By compare wrestling techniques you mean that I can take Brock Lesnar down at will? Yes, then we compared wrestling techniques. I could close my eyes and tie one hand behind my back and I could bounce Brock Lesnar’s forehead off the mat if he ever, ever tried to wrestle with me (laughs).”
If Jake has ever had to use his amateur wrestling in a WWE ring when a wrestler got out of control:
“Oh yeah, absolutely. Sometimes the amateur wrestling doesn’t send the right message. Like, if you squeeze someone down and put the clamps on and they’re still like squirming a little bit, sometimes you just gotta use the old right hand to get them to calm down. You can ask Cesaro about this. I’m friends with Brodus Clay, but we were tagging with him on Raw one day and he just wasn’t getting the message.
“And like, Cesaro was hitting him pretty hard and tagged me in, and I started hitting him hard and he still wasn’t getting the message. So me and Tony just kind of looked at each other, and I mean, I hit him with everything I had and I’m pretty sure he went down (laughs).”
If Jake is still planning on making his MMA debut and fighting this year for Bellator:
“Yeah, I think I absolutely will fight in 2018. It’s too late now to fight twice in 2018. I got real busy with professional wrestling with Lucha Underground back at the beginning of the year. Bellator’s been great to work with. They allowed me to do that and continue making a name for myself outside the octagon, which just goes for miles and miles for someone that I want to work with. You know, it really means a lot when they make it easy and they make you feel like you’re wanted there.”
“We’re still planning on November, December of 2018 for Bellator. In my mind, I’m gonna fight at the end of 2018. I’m gonna make a statement and then in a couple of months I’m gonna fight again since I’m already in the shape, I’ve already got the camp going. I think the training has been going great. I really have been doing Friday, Saturday, Sunday shows, and then Monday through Thursday coming home and hitting that two-a-day button.
“I’m really, really lucky to have this team around me that I do. I pretty much went to Dave Bautista and said, ‘give me your team,’ and these guys have adopted me. I’ve known a lot of them for years before this, and so it was kind of a special thing for them to come on this journey with me.”
“I started in March 2017, and so from March 2017 until up until we signed, which was October or November of 2017, training was rough, it was really rough. And it was like, a lot of questions. You know, can my body do this? Can my body hold up for the training? Can I get back to that competitive shape? Can I stay healthy? Can I actually learn multiple disciplines and be able to apply them effectively on a professional level?
“So, it was kind of, you know, you had to kind of go through stages, you had to climb the ladder and then get to a certain point in order to get better. And so now that I have about a year and a half of training under my belt, I’m really at a much different stage at the training where I feel confident, where I’m thirsty for blood and I’m ready to go out there.
“And I can learn so much faster now because I’ve been working non-stop and building up the arsenal. So like, Monday through Thursday has really been the most important times of the week for me. You know, I go out there on the weekends and give everything I have for the wrestling matches, but I’m definitely focusing on the training.”
Who he wants to fight in his debut:
“Again, I think that’s a little bit above my paygrade. I’m gonna rely on my team and my managers to focus on that. I would want someone similar to me, but at the same time, I’m doing this for a reason, so I’m not gonna shy away. If the team tells me I’m ready for this person, then let’s go get ‘em.”