San Pasqual man a top martial arts fighter

Virgil Zwicker, a member of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians of California, has quickly become one of the top ranked mixed martial arts fighters in the country.

But Zwicker, 27, almost didn't make it. Growing up on the reservation, he was always getting into fights and ended up serving time in state prison for an attack on a police officer.

"In the past, I was so quick to have hatred in my heart," Zwicker told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Zwicker became more connected with his Indian heritage while in prison is now seen as a source of inspiration. He works for his tribe's water department and encourages youth to be proud of their roots.

"The tribe looks at him today as an individual who has turned his life around. Kids look up to him," Michael Contreras, the president of economic development for the tribe, told the paper.

Zwicker, whose ring name is "RezDog," will defend his 6-0 record tomorrow night in Ontario, California. He currently competes with Team Quest but wants to become a part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization.

"I have big plans," he told the paper. "I want to make the UFC, travel the world and work with Native Americans."

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Brawler now fights for respect (The San Diego Union-Tribune 8/14)