Craig Jones: An Australian Grappler and Heel Hook Expert

Craig Jones

Craig Jones is an Australian grappling specialist and a former part of the Danaher Death squad who currently competes under the banner of B-team. He is an open guard expert and a black belt under the high-level grappling phenom Lachlan Giles.

Jones is a rare BJJ fighter who doesn’t fish for back take by any means necessary. He is a well-rounded fighter, evenly dangerous from every position, and a devastating finisher. Most of his victories happened via submission, plus he’s known for excellent cardio.

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This post provides several BJJ facts about Craig Jones that you may not be aware of. As a result, it will highlight Craig’s tournament exploits, best grappling skills, and other astounding feats.

Craig Jones Was Born In Adelaide, Australia

Source: Takedown Breakdown

Craig Jones came to this world in South Australia on July 17, 1991. Jones was a very active and healthy kid who trained in many different sports while growing up. He took part in rugby, Judo, Taekwondo, and basketball.

Craig Jones Was Dreaming of Becoming a UFC Fighter When He Was a Kid

Craig was fascinated with mixed martial arts around the age of 15. So he joined his cousin Matt Jones’ BJJ academy (2006). The gym was called ISOHEALTH.

He kicked off with grappling competitions in the Australian circuit and made an excellent name for himself. Then, after some time, he joined the Maromba Academy in Melbourne, which later changed its name to Absolute MMA.

Craig Is a Black Belt Under Lachlan Giles

Craig earned his brown belt after performing superbly at IBJJF World No-Gi Championships in 2015. And in 2016, his coach Lachlan Giles gave him the black belt.

Jones also works as a BJJ instructor (extra job). He is very dedicated to his students and always tries to do a great job.

Craig Jones Can Do Whatever You Want from the Open Guard

Source: Takedown Breakdown

BJJ fighters are usually good on their knees. Jones’ trademark is open guard because he can go for a leg lock, shrimp, transition, or even a submission switch attempt.

Jones likes to sit on his knees and look for his partner’s vulnerabilities. Indeed, his fight IQ is pretty solid, and he’s good at changing positions and transitioning from defense to offense.

Otherwise, in some cases, Jones intentionally grabs the opponent’s knees, pulls the guard, and starts working on triangle chokes, Omoplatas, and other defensive submissions.

This is the position with the most significant number of options for Craig Jones. He likes to stay in the open guard for some time, and then he explodes, shifts to side control or postures up to stack guard, and tries to remain in the dominant spot.

If you look at his record, you will see that Craig Jones was winning via so many different submissions – inside and outside heel hook, rear-naked choke, kneebar, terra footlock, heel hook, triangle, toe hold, arm-in guillotine, even flying guillotine!

It is almost impossible to anticipate his next move. He can roll to the right or shrimp, pass your guard, and finish you with a great arm submission. He is one of the most unpredictable guys you’ll ever see.

Craig Jones Competes at Medium Heavy Weight Class (-88.3 kg)

Depending on the tournament, Jones can also move to 185 or 205 pounds (Polaris), but his basic weight class is around 195 lbs.

Craig Jones Lost Via Submission Three Times

Craig Jones didn’t lose many matches, and it happened to a powerful grappler every time. His first submission loss came against Kaynan Duarte in 2019 via short choke.

Legendary Gordon Ryan finished the Australian powerhouse via precisely the same move. His third defeat came out against Ryan again, but this time, the legend finished the battle via kesa-gatame.

Jones’ bouts rarely go the distance, and he reminds me of Jordan Wright (MMA fighter) or BJJ – kill or be killed.

Either you will finish him inside the distance, or Craig will play mind games with your limbs. You choose, but if you’re on the mat with this guy, one of you will probably have to tap sooner or later!

Jones’ Most Dangerous Submissions Are Heel Hooks And Rear Naked Choke

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

The open guard gives you a ton of opportunities… Jones brought something from his previous team, as there are vast chances of tapping as soon as he gets a hold of your lower limb.

There are many heel hook victims under his belt – Nathan Orchard, Chael Sonnen, Bob Firas, Marcel Goncalves, Richie Martinez…

Like most BJJ specialists, Craig Jones is extremely dangerous when he locks you into a body triangle and gets a hold of your neck.

Source: FloGrappling

Moreover, there are 12 rear-naked choke wins under his belt, including the ones over Micah Brakefield and legendary Leandro Lo.

His sweeps and transitions are excellent, but the open guard leaves too many potential finishing opportunities for this top-notch all-around mat warrior.

But the accurate description of his fighting style is an all-around fighter. There are no weak spots in the game of Craig Jones, so you must be one step ahead of him if you plan to defeat him. It can be hard sometimes, can it?

Craig Jones Split With Danaher Death Squad to Compete for B-Team

Jones trained with legendary John Danaher, but when the beef escalated, he chose to stay with his teammates Nicky Ryan, Ethan Crelinsten, and Nicky Rodriguez.

They later opened the new “B-team” gym. After picking his training partners’ side, Craig continued his career in Austin, Texas.

Source: B-Team Jiu Jitsu

Jones Likes to Control His Opponent Passively

Let me guess your question… what the heck does this mean? Nick Rodriguez is a perfect example of an “active control.”

This is because he likes to stay on the tips of his toes. Otherwise, he constantly adds pressure to your chest or other areas of your body, disabling you from escaping the position.

On the other hand, fighters who stay on their knees and stall or shrimp and explode to switch BJJ positions are the experts of “passive control.” They don’t press too much, thanks to their skill sets, but you’re having difficulty escaping.

Now please look at Craig Jones’ videos when he’s on top of his opponents. What is he doing? Well, he’s mostly staying on his knees, working off the top, trying to fish for a submission finish, or earning points via control or dominant position.

However, he does everything way differently than, for example, Nick Rodriguez, who comes from Greco-Roman wrestling background.

Craig Jones Won Prestigious Polaris Tournament Two Times

Craig Jones is a former Polaris two-division champ. It kind of reminds me of the achievements of Daniel Cormier or Amanda Nunes in mixed martial arts.

Craig Jones Has Never Won the ADCC World Championship

Source: Grapple Culture

The ADCC World Championship is one of the world’s top grappling events. As a result, it attracts the top professional wrestlers from across the globe every two years.

Many grapplers have become legends due to their victory in the ADCC event. On the other hand, Craig Jones has never won this World Championship, but his best achievement was the silver medal in 2019.

Yet again, in 2022, Craig failed to win the ADCC World Championship, despite performing admirably before losing in the final to Kaynan Duarte in the -99 kg weight division.


Related Article: ADCC Submission Fighting Championship 2022.


Conclusion

Craig Jones is a technical, well-rounded fighter with tricky, hard-to-anticipate moves that give him a hard time with every opponent. Here is the list of his achievements:

Main Achievements:

  • Polaris 205 lbs Champion (2018);
  • Polaris 185 lbs Champion (2018 / 2019);
  • 2nd Place ADCC World Championship (2019, 2022);
  • 3rd Place EBI 11 Invitational (2017);
  • 3rd Place Kasai 2 185lbs Grand Prix (2018);
  • 3rd Place Kasai 5 205lbs Grand Prix (2019).

Main Achievements (Colored Belts):

  • 1st Place IBJJF World Championship NoGi (2015 purple);
  • 1st Place AFBJJ Pan Pacific Championship (2014** purple);
  • 1st Place ADCC Asian & Oceania Trials (2014 / 2016);
  • 1st Place NAGA World Championship (2014 purple);
  • 3rd Place UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro (2016 brown).

Craig is a very dedicated martial artist, but he also has a degree in Behavioural Science (Psychology). He scored wins over Brent Primus, Tye Ruotolo, Davi Ramos, and other masters.

But he hasn’t won a big tournament in the last three years. So, let’s hope it will change in the months to come!

I hope this article was delightful!


Related Article: Gordon Ryan: The King of ADCC BJJ Grappling Championships.