From state wrestling champion to professional MMA fighter, Santa Ana's Vargas shines

Luis Vargas (Courtesy Santa Ana College Athletics)
Luis Vargas (Courtesy Santa Ana College Athletics)

SANTA ANA - In our new series, The SAC Impact, we will be sitting down for interviews with former Santa Ana College student-athletes to talk about their experience playing for the Dons, what they've accomplished after graduating from SAC and how being a Don has impacted their lives. 

Episode 1: Luis "Lightyear" Vargas, SAC Wrestling - Pro MMA Fighter

The Santa Ana College wrestling program has historically been one of the best in the state with three team state championships and numerous individual champions throughout the years. But from 2012 to 2018, there was a drought, as the program struggled to produce the same results it was accustomed to until Luis Vargas returned to Santa Ana after an eight year break. 

Vargas originally joined the SAC wrestling program in 2009 as a freshman and got his first taste of championship wrestling after being a part of that state championship team as a backup. Although he did not place as an individual that year, he took that experience and put it to good use in his return in 2018. 

Throughout the 2018 season, Vargas overcame every obstacle in his way which included getting academically situated, having a job and getting back into wrestling shape. But the champ did it all with grace and found himself inline for a shot at the title when the state tournament rolled around in December. He was the No. 1 seed in the South and proved that he was the best in the state after defeating the top seed in the North 8-2 and claiming the 157lb state championship. "I set myself up to succeed because I knew what I was coming into and I tried to do everything accordingly with school, work and practice," said Vargas about his championship season. "I wanted to represent Santa Ana in a way that everyone could be proud of us and I'm glad it all worked out." 

Following the 2018 season, Vargas went after another one of his goals, which was to become a professional MMA fighter. So far, he's had six professional fights (2-4) with three of those coming in the well known Bellator organization. The fighter from San Jose will continue to look for opportunities to become a champion once again. "My goal is to be a MMA champion, make it the highest form, compete and show what I have," said Vargas. 

For the full interview with Luis "Lightyear" Vargas click here.

(Cammie Lewis, Santa Ana College Athletics)