With recent rumors of Soren Bak signing to the UFC circulating, Cageside Press spoke with “The True Viking” about possibly fighting on the Copenhagen card and much more.
Soren Bak has star potential coming out of Cage Warriors with a 13-1 professional record and an authentic Viking persona. After winning both the Cage Warriors interim featherweight title and undisputed lightweight title in his last two bouts, the UFC could be next for Bak. The Danish prospect sat down with Cageside Press to discuss what’s next and more.
First of all, how did you get into MMA?
I had been wrestling in my local gym for around 7-8 years. I was having some success, but also getting to the age (14-15 years) where I think my coach was getting nervous about me gaining other interests and maybe leaving the team. At the time, my wrestling gym started an MMA team that would train after the wrestlers but had an age requirement of 18 years. However, being a wrestler, my coach insisted that I at least try it out, and from that day, I started training wrestling and MMA back-to-back.
Do you have any background in any other sports? If so, explain.
Wrestling, as previously mentioned. A bit of BJJ, because it was the only place to find high quality grappling in my hometown – at least enough that I got my blue-belt seven years ago.
However, to tell the truth, I haven’t actually found the time to put on a gi since I moved to Copenhagen and quality grappling was readily available.
What is your career or would MMA be your full-time job?
I’ve always thought that a pure athlete’s career is too sensitive for my liking. I predicated my career and time spent in the gym with a simple statement, I need an education as well. So, in 2012 I did two things, I started my pro MMA career and I began my studies in finance. The studies allowed plenty of time for training and fighting and vice versa. Finishing my education with excellence and being 8-1 in MMA at that time proved that the
concept worked. However, now I have the income from a full-time job as a pension advisor to support my MMA career. With a little help from great colleges and bosses, soon I was known at the company for my other career. This led to me striking a deal with the management and our local labor union, which allowed me to change my work hours from full-time to part-time whenever I’m gearing up for a fight.
Who are you currently training with and who are some of your main sparring partners?
A whole team of savages, among them: Danny Mathiasen, Roger Huerta, Mark Damstedt, Janus Olsen and Tobias Zacho. Although my gym CSA has around 700 members, with many accomplished grapplers and strikers adding to the equation.
What has been the high of your career and what has been the low (if there is any)?
The high was receiving my first, and second, championship belt at Cage Warriors. The low was my first loss, leading to a long period of determined training culminating in the cancellation of my comeback fight in EuroFC due to the collapse of the organization. I had to wait for my redemption until my enrollment in Cage Warriors.
Speaking of that one loss, explain your thoughts after that fight and how that made you into a better fighter?
Initially, we were angry about the stoppage and we went back to fight-camp training two days later, the following Monday, determined to redeem the loss at the earliest opportunity. My contract with EuroFC at the time would allow me to take fights outside of the organization providing a brief break before the next fight scheduled with them in February. Long story short, a string of cancellations followed first from our other contacts and later from EuroFC themselves. I think this was the actual lowest point in my career.
I had been in fight camp for almost nine months straight with only my first loss to show for it. At this point, I realized the importance of a more thorough reflection upon my fights. A short break before my next scheduled fight at Cage Warriors would be my redemption.
What are your favorite striking and grappling techniques?
Striking: Overhand right to either knockout or stun my opponent.
Grappling: This is harder to pinpoint, but I feel most at home on the back of my opponent with a body-triangle restricting both breath and movement – that’s where I do my best work.
There have been rumors you signed with the UFC earlier this year, is that true? For the fans that don’t know about you, what would you tell them to expect from you?
A few sources reported that my management and I are in talks with the UFC, but no official signing just yet – though talks are going well. When I’m signed, the fans can expect a ‘True Viking’ walking out to the Octagon, grinding my opponents down to their essentials with a combination of hard punches, effective and dominating grappling usually leading to a bloody finish if I get my way – a back and forth fight with me as the victor if I don’t get my way. The analogy of Vikings wearing their opponents down in the shield wall isn’t too far off the
Your management is trying to get you on that UFC Copenhagen card on September 28. Explain the importance of wanting on that card?
It’s the perfect time and place for me. I’ve purposely chosen the toughest fights available to me in Cage Warriors. Fighting in enemy territory to build up my resistance to the crowd. So, fighting another place wouldn’t deter me either. However, my latest fight in Copenhagen, the crowd was completely electric and gave me the strength to push through the fifth and final round to become Interim Featherweight Champ. It’s Viking time!
If you weren’t fighting where would you be today?
That’s a difficult one to answer, I’ve been competing in martial arts (wrestling) since I was six years old, to this day I’ve spent 21 years out of 27 years alive doing that. Might as well ask me what I’d be doing if I was not a Viking! But to answer the question, I expect I would be doing something similar to what I’m doing today in finance.
Last question. Why do you fight and who do you fight for?
I love that question. For me, it’s always been to test the limits of myself. You learn a lot about yourself when you are pushed to your limits. In addition, the best sport to do that in is MMA. That is the more philosophical answer to the question. The truth and the more basic answer would really be that I love fighting, especially the training and the camaraderie that you get when you fight your friends every day. You build a connection so different from the ones you get in other places of your life. And also, the kinship you feel towards your opponent when you’ve gutted it out for five rounds. You get to know your opponent really well during those 25 minutes. Ultimately, I fight for my wife, my team and myself.