Nine-and-One Virgil Zwicker will look to step into the Mixed Martial Arts limelight, facing the knockout artist “Big” Lavar Johnson in the co-main event of Strikeforce: Challengers card in Fresno, California. Fighting out of the city of Temecula, Twenty-eight year old Zwicker finished six of his 9 career victories via a TKO, having most of his professional MMA fights for the Gladiators Challenge promotion.
Zwicker grew up on the San Pasqual Indian Reservation in Valley Center, California. “The Rezdog” spends his free time on coaching youth at the Reservation, also contributing to the Native American Intertribal Sports Group.
ShoMMA 11 will be aired on ShowTime at 11PM ET/PT. The event will take place at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
Tale of the Tape:
Birthday: June 26, 1982
Fighting out of: Temecula, California
MMA Record: 9-1
You are making your Strikeforce debut against Lavar Johnson on October 22nd, how’s your preparations going for this fight?
My preparations are going quite well. I feel fully prepared for this fight. I feel ready to put a great performance for the fans that night.
I understand that you’re training with Team Quest right now, what kind of influence fighters like Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland have on your game?
Yeah, I’ve been training for two years now at Team Quest. Two tough years. It’s a great camp, and everyone is helping each other a lot. There’s no easy days or easy goes on fighters at Team Quest. You are always pushed hard to your limit, and giving your 100% at training. There’s no such thing as quitting during a training or skipping it. You’re really getting hard as a fighter in this camp. There’s “no quit” from anybody in our camp.
I know that you are always looking to finish your fights. Did the training with a strong Wrestling camp like Team Quest affected your mindset?
After all I’m a striker. That’s what I do. I knock out people. But training alongside such a good wrestlers as Dan Henderson really helped me out to improve my game, and to become a more well-rounded fighter. So it’s like, I’m still aware of all the other aspects of MMA and know how to wrestle. So training at Team Quest really helped me to improve as a fighter, but still did not change my mindset as a knockout striker.
What do you think about Lavar Johnson as an opponent. Are you preparing to stand with him?
I think he’s a very tough guy, and it will be a really interesting fight. He’s a big guy with a very good hands. And yes, my plan is to stand with him, but not like everyone else does. I’m prepared to use a lot of head movement and footwork. I think I’m technical enough to take control over the fight on my feet, and finish it.
Do you consider this as the biggest fight of your career?
Oh, definitely. I had other big and important fights in my career, but this one is really the biggest challenge in my career. It’s been a long way coming, for my debut for a big promotion, and I’m not prepared to give it an easy go.
What in your opinion you have to do to become a star for Strikeforce?
I think that you have to do the regular things. Put up a good performances, finish your fights and excite the fans. These fans are coming to see a show, a good performance from fighters, and it’s our job to deliver. A combination of these things will get you further in the sport.
I know that you are very proud of your Native American heritage. Do you feel like you are representing your community in this fight?
Yes. I’ve been through a very hard challenges in my life, so it’s also a very important fight for me. Growing-up in a tough place at the reservations, I had to deal with many difficult situations. So being MMA fighters just helped me out to stay away from trouble and get on the right way. I know that Dan Hornbuckle is also a Native American, and it’s great that we have good fighters who represent our sport. So when I’m fighting I feel like I represent my community and its spirit.
It gives you extra pressure or motivation for you fight against Johnson?
Nothing but motivation. My fans, family and friends will be there, so I will be very determined to give a great performance and walk away with a victory.
Of course there’s yourself, and Dan Hornbuckle, who you mentioned. Do you think that the Native American community can grow out other successful Mixed Martial Artists, maybe with the right investment?
Yeah. I know about other couple of good fighters who are Natives, but that’s it. I also know that there’s a lot of tough guys at the reservations, who are very interested in MMA. With the right investment, I’m completely sure that a very MMA fighters can grow out of the reservations. MMA is a sport, and a great way to show young people another thing they can do in life.
So in short, your prediction for the fight – Knockout, Submission or Decision?
I think it will be a decision. Lavar Johnson is a very tough guy, and I’m sure it will be a war in this fight. I’m very confident in my abilities to stand ground, hit him hard and walk away as a winner. I respect his abilities, and think that it will be a toe-to-toe fight.
It’s the first time I hear a fighter who predicts a Decision as an outcome.
Yeah. You know, it’s easy to talk and say stuff. Like I said, I respect Lavar Johnson and his skills. He’s a great fighter, so saying right off the bat that I will knock him out is just ridiculous. Yes, I will definitely look to finish him, but I still think that this will be a very difficult battle.
Any message to your fans on LowKick?
I love all my fans, respect them a lot and hope that you guys will be cheering for me on October 22nd. It will be a great fight.