Jake Hager attended the University of Oklahoma as a two-sport athlete, participating in both football and wrestling. He switched to wrestling full-time in his sophomore year, and in 2006, set the record for most pins in a season with 30 as an All-American.
Following a try-out, Hager signed a WWE contract in mid 2006 where he performed as "Jack Swagger" During his time with WWE, he became a two-time world champion, having held the WWE's World Heavyweight Championship and the ECW Championship once each.
He left the company in 2017 after he decided to pursue a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career. In 2017, Hager signed with Bellator MMA. He had his first professional fight on January 26, 2019 against J.W. Kiser at Bellator 214, where he won via arm-triangle choke in the first round.
In his second fight with the promotion, he faced T.J. Jones on May 11, 2019 at Bellator 221, where he again won via arm-triangle choke in the first round. During a long interview with Ariel Helwani, the former WWE superstar reflected on Cain Velasquez coming to WWE: “You know what, I think it’s cool that Cain was able to cross over.
I think it’s awesome. I want to see more and more people cross over. I want to see more wrestlers cross over into MMA, more MMA cross over into pro wrestling. Because then our fans truly see how similar the worlds are, and how great they can be when you understand what’s going on … I think it’s interesting, though, that they saw me surprise debut, and then a couple days later they had Cain come out, not even signed to a contract, you know. Kind of rush-hush-hush. Hmmm”.