Bellator signs former WWE champion, college wrestling standout Jake Hager

Bellator is getting some much-needed swagger.

Jack Swagger, that is.

The MMA promotion has signed former WWE star Jake Hager, better known by his ring name Jack Swagger, to compete in its heavyweight division, Hager announced Monday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Swagger said he’ll be making his debut in 2018.

Hager, 35, performed with WWE or its development territories for 11 years before being granted his release back in March. He’s a former WWE World Heavyweight champion and U.S. champion.

In legitimate competition, Hager was a standout at the University of Oklahoma as a wrestler. He set the Oklahoma single-season record for most pins in a season with 30 in 2006. He was also an All-American that year in the 129kg (285 pounds) weight class.

Hager, an Oklahoma native and Florida resident, has yet to make his MMA debut. Last month, he told FloSlam that he could be interested in one day fighting in mixed martial arts.

Hager transitioning to MMA continues a long tradition of pro wrestlers and fighters going back and forth between the two mediums.

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