AEW’s Jake Hager discusses what’s next for him in MMA.
It has been a full year since Jake Hager last competed in the octagon. He is currently sitting on a 3-0-1 record in Bellator and his last fight was against Brandon Calton and Hager won via split decision.
He chatted with Renee Paquette and UFC’s Anthony Smith on SiriusXM. Hager was asked what’s next for him in MMA and said he’s aiming to do two fights in the new year. He has two fights left on his Bellator deal. Hager also revealed that he underwent surgery this past April and was back at AEW weeks after.
So it’s been a year since my last fight. I had surgery in April so I really kind of just took this whole year to myself to kind of deal with the recovery of — had a lot to do with pro wrestling and I was literally going to shows weeks out of surgery. So it was cool to get back and just kind of step back and relax and get my body [healed] and let my body heal which I think is a big word all MMA guys can say, heal, and now it’s the end of the year, I’m starting to train again. I got a teammate that’s training for a bare knuckle MMA fight and so, getting back in there, having a lot of fun, getting the itch. I think next year I’m gonna aim for two fights. I have two more fights on my Bellator contract so I’m gonna aim to do that in 2022, maybe April, maybe May and we’re just gonna go there. Right now, I’m a top ten undefeated heavyweight so I know the competition is gonna increase but you know, we’re ready, we stay ready. This is time to capitalize and no one’s gonna take that away from me.
Several weeks ago, Jon Jones took to social media and announced a grappling match between himself and Jake Hager for the Fury Professional Grappling promotion. Hager responded by noting that nothing had been signed or made official.
Well I don’t know what’s going on because I’m training, I’m ready. As far as I know, it’s on and then it got quiet on his end. I don’t know if he saw my resume and was like, ‘Ouuu, this is an Oklahoma country boy I don’t wanna wrestle with.’ Maybe he saw that I wrestled for AEW and he got a little scared. You know, everybody wants to work for AEW so maybe he wants to get a job so I’m wondering, Jon, come out of hiding. Prove that you’re still the GOAT and I’ll put in a good word with Tony [Khan] for you. You know, I work with GOATS every single day Jon. I work with the GOAT of pro wrestling Chris Jericho so I’m like a farmer of GOATS and I can also wrestle a little bit. I think he’d wanna see that.
Hager explained that when Jones made the announcement, they were in negotiations and finalizing details.
I was at dinner one night and just got the phone call from my head coach Josh Rafferty and he’s like, ‘Hey what’s up man? I got a great situation for you.’ He’s like, ‘You should say yes before I even tell you what it is’ and I’m like, ‘All right.’ I love Josh, he’s the man. I’m like, ‘Yes’ and then he tells me and I’m like, ‘Okay, yes. Go make it happen’ and so as far as I know, we were waiting from then on to just do the negotiations and finalize everything and he jumped the gun a little bit, made that Twitter announcement. We hadn’t had anything signed. I know my response was a little bit harsh but you know, you gotta get my name right, you gotta get my company right because you wanna work with me.
At AEW Full Gear, Hager was a part of the Minneapolis Street Fight which saw The Inner Circle (Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Santana, Ortiz & Hager) defeat Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page, Dan Lambert, Junior dos Santos and Andre Orlovski.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit ‘Throwing Down with Renee & Miesha’ with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.