Former National Team fighter Nina Back recently signed a historic deal with Battle of Botnia, making her the first woman in Swedish MMA to ink a multi-fight contract with a Swedish MMA organization.
The promotion’s new initiative is a three-year plan with the goal to lift up female role models in Swedish MMA – which Back is proud to be a part of.
“It’s something I’ve been missing both in Sweden and internationally, that organizations won’t invest more in the growing female fighting scene,” she tells Frontkick in an exclusive interview.
“That Battle of Botnia is signing me for a multi-fight deal feels like the start of something new in Swedish MMA. It can have an effect internationally too, and set a new standard for other promotions.”
“Female fighting needs to be lifted up and there is a need for role models to motivate young girls to get into combat sports, and there has been a need for a platform like Battle of Botnia where you can set goals and fulfil your dreams. If you don’t have that then what do you strive for?”
“Swedish female MMA is on a high level”
With fighters like Nina Back, Josefine Modig, Millie Eriksson, Hanna Palmquist and Nikolija Milosevic, the Swedish National Team has claimed a lot of success in the past years’ IMMAF tournaments.
“Swedish female MMA is on a high level, and we’ve won many medals in international tournaments,” Back says. “The men have tough brackets, but for us the level get’s so much higher with every fight. Before I made my A-class amateur debut I didn’t get a fight for about 18 months and then had to take on a World Championship gold medalist in my first fight. There was no way that I could take it step-by-step, it’s such a big leap in competition between every fight.”
To solve the problem of finding opponents, Nina Back had to take on other martial arts to get enough experience as a competitor.
“I competed in Muay Thai to get experience in my stand up game, and I have at least 150 bouts in BJJ and Submission Wrestling. It helped me learn so much about myself, like how you control your nerves, how you reset between fights and how to get out of tricky situations.”
Battle of Botnia is like a second home
Fighting at Norrland’s Battle of Botnia is like fighting at home for any fighter from the region. Many athletes have been impressed by the massive support they get from the crowd, and the Gävle-based strawweight hopes to experience that three times during 2024 with her new contract.
Hopefully as soon as February 24.
“Honestly, I don’t really care who I will fight, that’s a later problem,” she says. “My camp will look more or less the same anyways. One of the most important lessons I learned is to not care too much about my opponent’s game, just focus on what I’m going to do. I’m good everywhere and had a lot of success finishing my fights on the ground.”
Nina Back works at a nuclear power plant
When she’s not beating up people in the cage, Nina Back is a maintenance engineer for turbine valves at Forsmark nuclear power plant. As a surging pro fighter on the regional scene, she hopes to fight outside of Scandinavia in 2025 and put more and more time into her MMA career.
“Hypothetically I’m thinking of three-four fights in Sweden and that they will open up for international fights. Female fighters don’t need as many scraps as the guys to compete internationally, but the level of competition gets steeper faster for us,” Back says.
“We are well prepared though. As an amatuer I was looking to get experience to be able to fight smart as a pro. It sucks to fight in tournaments but you develop as a fighter a lot.”