Craig Jones – The Thunder from Down Under

Table of Contents

Craig Jones is one of the most exciting grapplers on the planet today. After his impressive debut at the 2017 ADCC tournament, Jones has cemented his place within the professional No-Gi grappling scene.

Here is the story of how Craig Jones became Australia’s best competitor, as well as one of the world’s best. Going back to how he got started in Jiu Jitsu and detailing his biggest accomplishments with the sport.

We’ll also give a quick breakdown of his Jiu Jitsu game and how he became co-owner of the B-Team.

Jones’ dream of being an MMA fighter

Craig Jones grew up in Adelaide, Australia and had a normal childhood. Participating in various sports as a kid, as well as taking Taekwondo and Judo classes for a brief time.

When Craig was 15 years old, he discovered MMA and quickly fell in love with the sport. Unfortunately this time in Adelaide, there wasn’t an MMA gym for Jones to train at.

But his cousin Matt Jones was a Jiu Jitsu coach that ran classes at a gym called ISOHEALTH. 

Jones liked training, but wasn’t as serious in the beginning due to the lack of a BJJ scene in Adelaide. He would work his way up to purple belt and find success at local tournaments.

Although he was good, Jones didn’t really feel like there was a future in grappling for him.

Craig Jones’ revelation

Craig’s views on making a career out of competing in Jiu Jitsu would change after vacationing in the US. While he was on his vacation, he decided that he would compete in a BJJ tournament when he was there.

Deciding to compete at this tournament would change Craig’s life. He saw first hand just how big the Jiu Jitsu scene was in the US.

Seeing that with enough effort someone could make a living from competing in Jiu Jitsu. Jones made the life changing decision to pursue his new dream of becoming a professional grappler.

Jones begins to train seriously

When Craig returned to Australia from vacation, he realized he needed to move in order to chase his dream. This would lead him to moving to Melbourne, which had a way bigger Jiu Jitsu scene than Adelaide.

Jones got into contact with Lachlan Giles, who owned Maromba Academy. After training at the academy, Lachlan changed the gym name Absolute MMA.

Lachlan Giles would be the first black belt that Craig had trained under. This allowed him to get serious grappling training for the first time in BJJ journey.

Under Giles, Craig quickly became the best lower belt in all of Australia. Winning every major tournament within the country and around the Pan Pacific area.

In 2015, Jones would realize a dream and win the IBJJF No-Gi Worlds in 2015 at purple belt..

Craig’s commitment to Jiu Jitsu

Even though Craig Jones was a world champion that just got promoted to brown belt, times were still tough. Since there was no money at winning championships at the lower ranks, Craig struggled to get by.

Taking classes at the local university, while coaching and training for the rest of the day. Not getting a lot of sleep and making just enough money to pay for tournaments and rent.

This would only be a brief time in Craig’s life as he was promoted to black belt by Giles in late 2016. He would also qualify for the 2017 ADCC tournament and soon his life would change.

Jone’s crashes onto the Jiu Jitsu scene

Craig Jones would make his pro debut at the EBI 11 event in California. Which at the time was the biggest pro No-Gi show on the planet.

At the EBI 11 tournament, he would begin to get some attention after a solid pro debut. Quickly submitting his first two opponents with a heel hook and kneebar before losing in OT to Wagner Rocha.

Even though he didn’t win, Jones gained a lot of confidence from his performance going into ADCC 2017.

In the 2017 ADCC tournament, Craig came into the tournament as a rather unknown competitor. When he left, everybody would know his name.

Even though Craig wouldn’t medal at the tournament, he had an incredible performance at the event. 

Craig’s first match would be a stunning upset submitting multi time BJJ world champion Leandro Lo by RNC. Then in his second round match, he would submit another world champion Murilo Santana with a flying triangle.

He would lose his next two matches in the 88 Kg division. But he would quickly submit Chael Sonnen with a heel hook in absolute division before losing to Gordon Ryan.

After EBI 11 and the ADCC tournament, everybody now knew who Craig Jones was.

Jones makes a name for himself

Since making his pro debut in 2017, Craig Jones has been making quite a name for himself. He has been one of the most active grappling competitors in the world.

2018 was one of his best years as a competitor as he would win both the Polaris 205lb and 185lb championships. Along with competing in various other grappling promotions from Kasai, Quintet, and Boa Super.

In 2019, Jones would top his first ADCC performance as quickly submitted his first two opponents to reach the finals. His finals match against Matheus Diniz would be a bit controversial.

The ADCC judge awarded Diniz points for a takedown, which many considered wasn’t a takedown. Although Jones was disappointed, he went right back to competing.

Craig Jones’ Jiu Jitsu game

Craig Jones has shown to be one of the best leg lock specialists in all of Jiu Jitsu. He has a plethora of different entries that he has developed from training with Lachlan Giles and DDS.(Danaher Death Squad)

He also has an incredible open guard game that he has displayed many times. Jones is now adding wrestling to his game from working with teammate Nicky Rodriguez.

Craig Jones vs Vinny Magalhaes

We wanted to cover one particular grappling match Craig had with Vinny Magalhaes in 2020 that has a rather interesting backstory.

After Vinny Magalhaes handed Gordon Ryan his last loss, he stated that leg locks don’t work. A statement that would come back to haunt him.

He would face Craig Jones at SUG 13, who had just recently began training with Gordon Ryan. Jones would lock on a heel hook that would severely injure Vinny’s knee and put him out of action.

Vinny has now taken back his “leg locks don’t work” statement.

Jones’s time with DDS

In late 2019/2020, Craig moved to the US and began training with the Danaher Death Squad. He trained with the squad for a brief time in the blue basement before they moved to Puerto Rico.

DDS originally wanted to make Puerto Rico a hub for the best Jiu Jitsu training in the world. But that plan quickly fell apart due to Covid restrictions and the location of the gym.

The team would move to Austin, Texas, but they wouldn’t be together much longer. Members of the time announced that DDS was breaking up and the team was going their separate ways.

Craig Jones would join Nicky Ryan, Nick Rodriguez, and Ethan Crelinsten to form B-Team Jiu Jitsu.

What’s next for Craig Jones?

Craig Jones has now ventured into becoming co-owner of a Jitsu gym along with his teammates at B-Team Jiu Jitsu. Also after recovering from Covid-19, Jones is back and better than ever.

He went undefeated in competition in 2021 and will look to keep his streak going in 2022. Jones will be making his 3rd appearance at the upcoming 2022 ADCC tournament. Looking to win gold at ADCC for the first time in his Jiu Jitsu career.


More to explorer

Gadisov Duck Under
The Gadisov Duck Under

The Duck Under is one of the most important techniques in wrestling as it opens into many other different wrestling positions and

D'arce Choke
The D’arce Choke Explained

What is the D’arce Choke? Knowing how to submit is one of the facets of being a great grappler. There are many