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Cage Warriors 96 was headlined by the hometown hero, Paddy Pimblett. Pimblett was set to step up from featherweight, where he was the former champion, and make a bid for a second belt. Unfortunately, he ran into Soren Bak. Bak is the True Viking and he proved that he is elite. After being in trouble in the first round, Bak was able to swing the fight back in his direction, taking the Cage Warriors Lightweight Championship home with him to Denmark. We spoke with Bak on that win over Pimblett,
Bak started fighting at a young age. Wrestling for so long, he made his way onto his MMA team younger than he should, where he found great success quickly. Training at such a high level early on, Bak has a few advantages over someone who started at 18.
“From a very young age, the age of six, I started wrestling. From there when we started the MMA team after wrestling, my trainer said, ‘Just stick around,’ even though there was an age limit of 18 to get on the team and I was 14 or 15. With the wrestling background I still threw people around.”
Soren Bak at Cage Warriors 96
As mentioned at the top, Cage Warriors 96 was a homecoming for Pimblett. He was supposed to win, but Soren Bak played the spoiler. He walked out to “If I Had a Heart,” the theme song from History Channel’s Vikings. The crowd went from insanity to dead quiet as Bak walked out in his killed skin, an axe on his shoulder. “That kind of works for the atmosphere. It fit me well that people just let me hear my music,” said Bak.
Training for Pimblett wasn’t easy either. With his unique skills, Soren Bak had to train how he could preparing for the submission specialist. He brought in fighters and just ran through a gauntlet of submission attempts in preparation for Cage Warriors 96.
“Paddy is very hard to predict what he’s going to do, therefore it’s hard to train for him specifically. But, we did a lot of things in the camp. We took in good ground guys and high level jits guys and made them try to catch me in a submission if they could. Also, we flew in Patrick Patilla, a Finnish lightweight fighter. A very strong wrestling and ground game. His physique is kind of like Paddy’s. He’s long limbed like Paddy is.”
As history shows, Soren Bak was in danger in the first round against Pimblett. He was deep in a choke and was that way for several minutes. To the dismay of the announcers, Bak managed to find a way to get some air and not be put to sleep. Surviving that round handed him the fight and the start of the second bell was the beginning of the turning of tides for Bak.
“There’s a few seconds there where I’m thinking, ‘This didn’t go according to plan.’ I scrambled for his hand on my neck and I just couldn’t grab anything. I tried to move to the other side and scrambled and put myself all the way to his other side and just got a little bit of air right there. That’s enough for me to work with going into the next couple minutes where he was trying to get it but it’s not really deep as it was in the beginning.”
While winning the lightweight belt in Cage Warriors is a huge accomplishment, it’s not a sure shot at the UFC. But, Bak says that there have been interesting talks. “No personal phone call from Dana, but we are talking to people.”
The Future for Bak and Company
The future is bright for Soren Bak. Having become a champion and moving up to 12-1 on his career, Bak now has options. While there are a slew of names for Bak to take on, namely Jack Grant who also fought on the Cage Warriors 96 card, he and his team are content to take their time and figure out the perfect next move.
“When you get the lightweight title in Cage Warriors, in the contract you get a few months to figure out what your next move is. We’re not through that period yet so we haven’t looked at Jack Grant specifically. But one thing I did noticed on Jack is his first real hard opponents have been his last two. Yeah, he comes off a six fight winning streak, but the first four, many of them don’t have positive records. I know a lot of people are calling for Jack and I believe Jack will get his shot eventually, but I can’t say it’s right now.”
There seems to be a small Dutch invasion going on in the MMA world. With names like Mark O. Madsen, Nicholas Dalby, Mads Burnell, and now Bak himself, the Dutch are definitely coming. Bak thinks it’s just the culture in Denmark and he and his team are just meant to fight.
“Madsen and me have just been the wrestling upbringing from a very young age. Burnell is the crazy jits guy but also knows how to box and is one of the few people that are from the UFC that are from Cage Warriors. He was quite impressive in his last UFC fight before he got tapped. He was winning the first few rounds.”
Predicting UFC 229
UFC 229 is the most anticipated UFC card of all time. Conor McGregor returns and aims to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov and reclaim his title. Bak doesn’t like McGregor’s chances and will be pulling for Nurmagomedov even though history has been against Bak in pulling against McGregor.
“I’m the kind of guy that pulls for McGregor’s opponents from the beginning. Every time I do that I get the wrong answers. I’m more hesitant than I have been before but I can’t help but think Nurmagomedov is going to take it. I think Conor can always catch people with his last chance, but I think there’s a high chance that Khabib is going to maul him.”
Soren Bak is sure to get a call to the UFC any day now. Follow Bak on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to follow his fight journey.