Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Former WWE champ and current AEW wrestler Jake Hager will return to the Bellator cage next week.
Hager faces Brandon Calton at Bellator 250, which takes place Oct. 29 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event airs live on CBS Sports Network.
Calton, a former super heavyweight, makes his promotional debut after a pair of stoppage wins on the regional circuit. As an amateur, he was 5-0 with two recorded knockouts.
Standing across from him at equal height – both men are 6-5 according to Tapology.com – is Hager, who made his third appearance in the Bellator cage this past October at Bellator 231. The part-time pro wrestler aimed for a trio of wins, but was forced to settle for a no-contest after an inadvertent groin strike left his opponent Anthony Garrett unable to continue.
In his previous two Bellator bouts, Hager put his opponents away with the same choke – an arm-triangle – in nearly equal time.
Known to pro-wrestling fans as Jack Swagger and his “we the people” catchphrase in the WWE, where he won a pair of titles, Hager chose to redirect his efforts toward a dual career on the mat and in the cage. Before his fight against Garrett, he spoke to MMA Fighting about the challenge of pursuing both.
“This is a very big chunk I’ve bit off and it’s big enough to scare me,” he said. “I wanted to prove to everybody who Jake Hager is. Now that the [AEW] debut has gone well, yeah, there’s more pressure on me not only to win, but to make a statement. This is where I rely on my background. This is where having been to the NCAA Division I championships and wrestling [in WWE] before 80,000 people helps out. It’s scary. I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I can handle it. Dealing with pressure is a good thing. It’ll make you work harder and make you focus even more.”