Southside San Antonio MMA fighter could land in UFC

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When San Antonio native Zachary “The Dragon” Borrego steps into the Octagon in Las Vegas, the entire Southside will walk in the cage with him. Borrego will enter the UFC Apex at 3-0 against Bo Nickal in a middleweight fight Tuesday, August 9.

The main fight is part of the UFC president Dana White’s Contender Series. Although separate from the UFC, the promotion “will allow promising fighters to showcase their talents in hopes that one day they can compete in the UFC,” according to a Fox Sports report. Borrego is one of those fighters hoping to prove his worth in the UFC.

“So not only is San Antonio very proud, but if you’ve ever been to the Southside you know how proud our group is,” Borrego said. “I fight with pride in my heart and everything I do is not just a fight for me. I know what this win could mean not just for me and my family, but for the community.”

The San Antonio native sets eyes on the UFC.

Photo courtesy of Zachary Borrego

Growing up on the Southside, Borrego understands that people are eager to see a successful fighter from San Antonio. For this reason, no matter how successful he is, he won’t leave San Antonio in the rearview mirror.

“The Southside is very dear to me,” Borrego said. “I can’t wait to play and I have them in the bottom of my heart.”

The professional career of Borrego, 26, began in January after going 3-3 as an amateur. He had a rocky end to his amateur career, suffering a full-back choke loss in November 2021.

“In this fight, there were times when I myself lost the fight. I did things that I shouldn’t have done,” Borrego said. “It wasn’t a question of whether his skill level was better than mine. I just put myself in a situation that I just shouldn’t have been in.”

The San Antonio native sets eyes on the UFC.

The San Antonio native sets eyes on the UFC.

Photo courtesy of Zachary Borrego

Borrego and his team decided that after this fight, even though he had lost, it was time to turn pro.

“We felt like if we cleaned up the things I wanted, I would have a successful career,” Borrego said. “Most of the time people don’t turn professional after they’ve suffered a defeat on the amateur scene. We did the opposite.”

Before becoming a fighter, Borrego graduated from Harlendale High School and later played college football at Angelo State. He got a job at UT-Health Science Center after graduating from college. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, Borrego began to return to the gym, where he made the choice to start his MMA journey.

“I have always participated in martial arts competitions, for me it is my form of expression,” Borrego said. “At some point it goes from techniques, kicks and punches and drills to some form of therapy.”

The San Antonio native sets eyes on the UFC.

The San Antonio native sets eyes on the UFC.

Photo courtesy of Zachary Borrego

Borrego won his first professional fight in February, a first-round knockout, and followed that up with a 30-second victory in March. After a unanimous decision win at New Orleans in June, matchmakers began to take notice of the Angelo State alum’s talent.

Now he will face Nickal in the main event on Tuesday. The fight will air at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

Regardless of the outcome, Borrego wants to take a few months off to heal after having four fights in six months.

“I want to go home,” Borrego said. “I would like to spend time with my family, get back to my gym and eventually get back in the saddle and fight again at the end of the year or the beginning of the year.”

The San Antonio native sets eyes on the UFC.

The San Antonio native sets eyes on the UFC.

Photo courtesy of Zachary Borrego


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