The Rise of a Star, Craig Jones
Craig Jones is the biggest name in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu right now. Whether or not he is the best is irrelevant, Craig is the newest name on the scene and has taken the BJJ community by storm. Many people have actually referred to Craig as the “new Eddie Bravo.” If you’re not familiar with whom Eddie Bravo is you may have been living under a rock. Eddie is infamous for going to the ADCC as an underdog with no name or reputation and tapping the biggest name, that being Royler Gracie. Nobody ever expected Eddie to be able to beat him; Royler had been winning everything to date. Eddie did not continue to win the ADCC but he had the biggest break out performance.
Craig has a similar story. Craig came into the ADCC in 2017 in Finland and virtually nobody had heard of him. Craig had what many consider one of the best performances of the tournament. He was able to catch some of the biggest names in his division. He actually was able to submit 5x Black Belt World Champion and favorite, Leandro Lo, and he submitted Unity BJJ coach and competitor, Murilo Santana.
This is no easy feat; Craig took the bjj world by storm with this breakout performance. There had not been an upset this big since Eddie competed at the ADCC against Royler. For somebody with minimal accolades when compared to someone like Leandro Lo to be able to accomplish this, it was unheard of. Craig had competed in EBI before and had won some prestigious events, but he was not famous among the mainstream bjj fans. The 26-year-old has earned submission victories over Leandro Lo, Murilo Santana, Nathan Orchard, Darrah Oconaill, and Chael Sonnen, and the future looks bright for Jones as the pro event invites keep coming. Jones has two sub victories in the Submission Underground promotion since May, one at SUG 4 over Micah Brakefield and another at SUG 6 against Ben Egli. He just recently competed in EBI 14 and made it to the finals against the red-hot Gordon Ryan, nearly tapping the ADCC Champ with a vicious armbar in overtime.
So these amazing performances beg the question, how does Craig do it? Well there are a number of things that play a role in his ability to compete so well, the first being his technique, the second being his will, and the third being his desire.
Craig Jones Technique of a Champion
Craig has an unbelievable game. He has been able to adapt some of the best leg locks in bjj. He trains out of Australia and is a black belt under Lachlan Giles. No stranger to competition, Craig is actually a NoGi IBJJF Purple Belt World Champion. He has an extremely diverse game, he is able to play from bottom, top, and has a wide arsenal of submissions.
Although he has become popular for his Z guard and a lot of his leg attacks, this does not define his game. Craig is able to do just about anything that there is to do in bjj. If he has to pass the guard he is very capable of doing so, if he needs to hit a sweep, he is also able to do that. The great thing about Craig’s game has to be his versatility. He is able to perform well under any rule set, against any weight, and any style.
Craig does have some of the most innovative and creative leg locks in the game today. He has actually won 7 out of his last 11 matches via heel hook and has been able to use a variety of leg locks at high levels of competition. Again, this does not mean that he is a one trick pony; he is just amazing at whatever he puts his mind to. Craig studied so much in Australia and watched so much film, went to seminars and did everything he could to master leg locks. The impressive thing with Craig is that he did not have the ability to train with a room full of World Champion black Belts. Although there are high level guys in Australia such as Kit Dale, he can’t attend a world class gym like Renzo Gracie NYC, Marcelo Garcia HQ, or Atos. He had to work with what he had and he did an excellent job. Check out this high light of Craig’s ADCC 2017 Finland run below.
Craig Jones Will of a Champion
Every champion also possesses certain characteristics that differentiate them from the crowd. These are the things that cannot be taught in an academy, they are things that people are born with. Craig has more than just extremely authentic technique, good physique, and cardio and more, he has the will and desire to win. They say that competitions are 90% mental; this is very true for bjj and combat sports. We all know those guys that train very well in the academy but when it comes time to compete they are not the best. Many people don’t cope well with the pressure, stress, adrenaline, and nerves of the competitions. This is not the case for Craig, its actually quite the opposite, he is able to perform extremely well under pressure at the competitions.
Craig is an anomaly; he actually performs much better under pressure and in competitions. When he was competing at the ADCC 2017 in Finland, he was able to submit Black Belt World Champion, Leandro Lo. When he initially saw that his first match was going to be against the favorite, and one of the favorites for the absolute as well he initially got extremely nervous. Than he realized this was an opportunity to display his capabilities and that is exactly what he did. He trusted his bjj, went into the match with confidence and submitted one of the best in the entire world. Craig is not bothered by stress, adrenaline dumps, pressure, and other obstacles many competitors encounter. Check out Craig vs 10th Planet Stand out, Nathan Orchard below.
Craig Jones Desire of a Champion
The other features that Craig has that segregate him from the rest of the crowd is an outstanding work ethic. Craig is always looking to improve. Coming from Australia it is very difficult to find high level training partners but that does not stop Craig. He constantly watches film, studies, drill, and spends time on the mat. He has an incredible work ethic. Many champions have one track minds and it is true for Craig. He know that he wants to be the best grappler in the world.
In this new wave of no gi grapplers, Craig is sure to become one the best nogi grapplers to ever compete. He has all the tools necessary to accomplish this goal. It is an exciting time in bjj and Craig is at the forefront of all of the revolutions occurring in bjj. He has developed a game that is perfect for what we are seeing today.
So now that you know who Craig Jones is all you want to do is learn his technique.. Well, lucky for you, BJJ Fanatics was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with the young and up and coming Phenom on a new DVD all about lower body attacks, philosophies, principles, and concepts. Check out Craig Jones new DVD Set, “Down Under Leg Attacks.” This is one of the best resources anybody can get their hands on if they are attempting to learn new school leg attacks, in fact, we may actually go as far as to say that this is hands down THE BEST lower body attacks DVD on the market today.