Nickname: The True Viking
Born: Storstrøm, Denmark
Fighting Out Of: Copenhagen, Denmark
Promotion: Bellator MMA
Cage Warriors Lightweight Championship
Cage Warriors Interim Featherweight Championship
He wears a wolf pelt draped across his shoulders and carries an axe on his way to the cage. Fever Ray’s “If I had a heart,” the ominous song from the hit TV show Vikings, echoes throughout the blacked-out arena while he slowly approaches. His name is Søren Bak aka “The True Viking.”
A native of Toksvaerd, Størstrom in Denmark, Bak’s journey to a career in mixed martial arts began when he was six years old. That is when he was first introduced to Greco-Roman wrestling, joining A.K. Rolf, the local wrestling club locating in Naestved. It was there that Bak paid his dues on the mat, training three nights a week well into his early teenage years.
With the soaring global popularity of MMA, A.K. Rolf eventually created their own MMA team called The True Vikings. The age requirement was 18, and despite being only 14 years old, the coaches made a special exception for Bak, who was proving to be a precocious athlete at the time. Of course, he took his lumps while being the youngest one in the gym, but it only helped instil resiliency and toughness while moulding his overall skill set, which led to the fighter he is today: a relentless worker, seeking to impose his will while grinding his opponents out.
Bak possesses the same drive outside of the cage that he has inside it. He became a wrestling coach for A.K. Rolf when he was 18, but that was a voluntary job that offered no pay. So, while he attended the Copenhagen Business Academy, Bak held a job at McDonald’s to pay the bills. His days were very long, and for a two-year stretch he had an hour commute between Naestved and Copenhagen, balancing school, work and training.
With a degree in finance, the Dane submission specialist presently works at Danica Pension, also located in Copenhagen, as a pension adviser. There are no strange looks whenever Bak is in the office, though. He has his company’s full support in regard to his career, and they allow him time off to train whenever he has a fight scheduled.
He really hadn’t given much thought to a professional career back in his early days of training, but after winning his first amateur fight at the age of 19, the future champion received a phone call from a matchmaker for his next bout just one week later. And after winning his second amateur fight, that is when the realisation took place. Bak quickly turned pro and soon relocated to Copenhagen where he now trains at CSA DK under the tutelage of Carsten Ettrup.
In December 2012, in his first pro fight on the EMMA 3 card in Copenhagen, Bak bested Sjors van der Wearden by TKO in the opening round and his career was off and running. After winning seven of his first eight fights, Bak then signed on with the London-based promotion Cage Warriors. The wrestler who lists Dan Gable, Randy Couture and Joe Lauzon as his biggest influences, locked up three straight wins, including two submissions, to earn a title shot.
Bak defeated Paddy Pimblett at CW 96 by unanimous decision to win the lightweight title. And for his next fight, he vacated the lightweight title in order to challenge for the featherweight strap. With champion Dean Trueman forced to withdraw, Bak defeated Morgan Charriere at CW 103 to capture the interim featherweight crown. He quickly realized that the cut to featherweight was taking too much of a toll on his body, so a planned bout vs. Trueman to unify the two featherweight titles never materialised.
With a planned return to lightweight, “The True Viking” will soon be off to pillage that division once more, soldiering on to recapture the title he previously vacated. And as is the goal for every MMA fighter, Bak wishes to one day test his skills against the best of the best in the world.
Why I fight:
“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. And 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.”