` Virgil Zwicker: From Rez to the cage - Fighters Only Magazine

Virgil Zwicker: From Rez to the cage

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Team Quest light heavyweight Virgil Zwicker returns to action at Bellator 162 in Memphis, Tennessee on October 21st and explains to Fighters Only what life was like growing up one of 12 on an Indian reservation in California, and how fighting in his teenage years prepared him for life in the cage.

Q. You are schedule to scrap with Dan Charles later this month, how has training camp gone in the lead up to this fight?

A. Camp has been very good. I’ve been focused, determined and motivated to get the 'W'. He's a tough, scrappy guy that's very well-rounded.

Q. You are right there in the top 10 in the division. Where does a win catapult you to next?

A. I don't really worry about rankings. I'm excited that they have me in the top 10. I've been in this business a long time and I'm just looking forward to putting on exciting fights with the upper echelon in Bellator. My goal is to retire within the next five years, so I am really hoping to go out with a bang and put whoever they put in front of me out cold.

Q. You have had some interesting wins and losses in your career. Which ones stand out most to you?

A. The win over Houston Alexander in our second fight was definitely a point in my career where I really enjoyed it. I really like Houston and I respect him a great deal. The biggest fight I have had and I know I lost the fight but for me the fight with Carlos Augusto Inocente Filho. I enjoyed that fight a lot. The win over Ovince St Preux was great, too. Being able to train with him now, to know him, to consider him a friend and to call him a brother, I definitely like to throw that in his face every once in a while in the gym.

Q. You grew up on an Indian reservation outside of San Diego with your parents and 11 siblings. You must have had a tough upbringing?

A. I came home from school one day, in second or third grade, I had broken my right ankle that particular day. My father was a truck driver so he was always on the road. My mother would go to town once or twice a week to get groceries for the family. There were no cell phones back then. There was no real easy way to get ahold of somebody. The day I broke my ankle just happened to be one of the days my mom went to town to get groceries. I had to ride the bus back home. My ankle was shattered. I got home and my older brothers David and Roy had been there because there are different times that the buses would bring the kids back from Rez (the reservation). By the time they all got there it was me, my little sister Ruby, my brother David, my brother Jeremy and my brother Jeremiah. We were all so hungry. My mom was still in town. We knew she wouldn’t be home until about seven o’clock. It was about three o’clock then. With a broken ankle we were all sitting outside, locked outside the house. We had no food. We were hungry. I was crying. I knew I had to suck it up. They told me not to worry, that she would be home soon. We were all hungry. I was hurt and crying. My brothers were always tough on me so to have that moment with them, that compassion, the love they showed was a great moment that I cherish to this day.

Q. Is it true you were fighting grown men aged 11?

A. Yeah, I was 11 or 12. I was hanging out with a rough crowd and all my older siblings and cousins. It got real serious when I was 15 or so. I was definitely out running amok with grown men, scrapping.

Q. Do you remember that first actual fight? The moment when you knew it was for real?

A. Oh yeah. I was about 16 years old. I had been at the beach all day with a bunch of my cousins. We stopped by to get a half keg to take up to Rez and drink. I was with my brother Jeremy. I was already a little too buzzed. I mouthed off to this Mexican guy. I was young and obnoxious and he proceeded to try to scrap with me. It was a good one. We were both getting after it. We were so young, man. My brother came out and was like 'What the heck?' We sat back afterward and realized that I just scrapped with this much older dude. It was crazy.

Q. You said recently you would be happy spending the rest of your career with Bellator. I know that wasn’t always the case so what is it about the current regime with Scott Coker and company that makes you want to stay? 

A. For me, Scott Coker gave me an opportunity earlier in my career in Strikeforce. I will always be appreciative of that. The people that work for Bellator, they make it feel like a family. When you get to go fight for a promotion that treats you with respect and dignity and makes you feel happy to be with them and happy to put on a show for them it brings out the best in the fighters. With Scott Coker and the family they make you feel that comfortable to where you want to fight for them and put on a good show.