Tommy Langaker (R) (ONE Championship)

Tommy Langaker Discusses His Upcoming Match with Kade Ruotolo

Tommy Langaker has shined since jumping onto the global stage in ONE Championship. The Norwegian grappler has picked up two victories to become the top contender in the lightweight division.

At ONE Fight Night 11 on June 9, Langaker will challenge Kade Ruotolo for the ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Championship.

However, getting to this career achievement has not been an easy road. Langaker’s life in martial arts began at home in Norway in traditional jiu-jitsu.


“I grew up with two brothers, so I guess that’s how I started getting into the martial art life. [I was] always getting beat up a little bit,” Langaker told ONE.

“I was lucky to have very supportive parents helping me and supporting my interest in martial arts. I managed to go on a national team there. Since I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so late, part of my life where I traveled a lot and did traditional jiu-jitsu and competition, I got the edge of getting [rid of] all those nerves. I know how to handle the competition.”

When he made the transition into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Langaker would compete as often as he could around Europe. Even thought he was successful, he was not sure how good he was at the time. Along with Espen Mathiesen, Langaker came to America to find out.

During a trip to Art of Jiu Jitsu in Costa Mesa, California, the Norwegian found himself more motivated than ever, realizing he could be one of the world’s best.

“We went to [Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy] for three months. It blew our minds, because we came there knowing we were decent, and we [wanted] to see where we [were] in the [grappling] world,” Langaker said.

“And then it turned out, our level was to be lined with them. That really ignited that self-belief part for us. We could hang with all these guys that [were] doing it full time.”

It was not just confidence that helped spur Europe’s top grappler along his journey. It was passion.

“I’m a samurai when it comes to it. I do it because I really, really, really, really love this sport. And this is all I want to do. This is my calling. So I would just mindlessly go — never a thought about anything like economics. It [didn’t] matter, it [would] all solve itself. I just pursued it,” Langaker said.

Driven by his love of the sport, Langaker was willing to endure the early hardships that come along with competing in submission grappling. With little money to be made on the smaller circuits, he made the sacrifices to reach the top of the sport.

“As I said, I’ve just been very stubborn in what I do. So I put my training and my passion in front of everything else. I think that’s the biggest adversity when it comes to making this life in jiu-jitsu, because there’s very little income, especially in the early career. And if you want to catch up with the rest, you have to invest so much of your time,” the Norwegian said.

But the road to greatness is never paved. Potholes and detours are part of the journey.

Filled with the passion to become great, and the confidence that he could achieve the highest of highs, Langaker continued to perfect his craft.

“I’m doing it because I always compare it to if you’re a good carpenter. If you have a nice house, you want to show it off if you’re doing good work. I’m very proud of my jiu-jitsu. And I know my house is the best house, and I’ll be there if somebody has anything better. But I’m going to go in there, and I believe my jiu-jitsu is always going to be superior,” Langaker said.

The hard work paid off when he signed on the dotted line with ONE. As the promotion committed itself to elevating the sport of submission grappling, Langaker was one of the early signings.

It proved to be the right move for the Norwegian star, as Langaker not only picked up important victories, but took home a $50,000 performance bonus to help bring him more financial security.

“I feel great. It’s amazing. Finally, I’m secure — everything is. I’m being smart with my money, and I keep trying to build up my brand,” Langaker said.

“It just made it a lot easier now as it’s more stable. And then again, it makes it much easier to focus even more. Now, it’s nothing. It’s just pure laser focus.”

Langaker’s chance at the gold will come against Ruotolo at ONE Fight Night 11 on Friday, June 9. The event will be free for all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime members and begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Prime Video.