The American road trip. Hitting the open road, the windows are rolled down and the wind sails through the car. As the radio blares today’s popular tracks, there is not a care in the world. We’ve all seen this unfold on the big screen, and when you’re lucky enough to experience it in real life, there is no better feeling.

There is nothing quite like the thrill of opening up a crinkled road map and plotting out the destinations you wish to visit. Albeit, road maps have long been replaced by in-car GPS devices or Google Maps, the idea is still the same—that heart-racing feeling of knowing that you are about to embark on a journey that could be a turning point in your life.

Craig Jones plans on doing his own American road trip, only the destinations are a little bit more specific.

“I love competing and love the idea of being able to compete regularly,” Jones explained in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “We fly out on Thursday, and from there we are competing in six competitions over a six-week period in Las Vegas, Boston and New York. I’m looking forward to challenging myself and getting as much match experience as I can get. I plan to compete in Five Grappling Nevada, IBJJF Boston, the ADCC American Nationals, IBJJF New York, the NAGA World Championship and the IBJJF Las Vegas. It’s pretty much a competition every weekend.

“I’ve just finished University, and I decided to take six weeks off from my part-time job for this trip, too. It’s good because one of the guys that I train with is actually my boss, so it was pretty easy to get the time off [laughs].”

Jones and team (Facebook)

Jones and the ISO BJJ team (Facebook)

Like most Australians, Jones, while growing up, dabbled in various sports. He started off playing football, but when running out onto the field and doing the same week in and week out grew tiresome, he moved on. Through the help of his cousin, Matt, he was able to find a new passion to which he could dedicate his life.

“It’s just the creativity involved in it,” Jones admitted. “With football, you don’t have the same kind of creativity available to you. With jiu-jitsu, I can come up with my own moves and change things up to how it works for me. Jiu-jitsu isn’t as black and white as ball sports or other sports. There is so much more that you can do when in a match that isn’t necessarily the same as what other people do.”

Jones has previously traveled to the United States in 2013, where he visited San Francisco and competed in the 2013 IBJJF San Francisco Open. He took first place in the purple belt middleweight division.

“When I went over last time, I regretted not competing more,” he said. “The big thing is that there are vastly different styles over there, so it’s good to be able to experience that and better develop myself at the same time. I’m hoping to get in 40-plus matches while I am over there, so it’s going to be an exciting trip and something that I think I’ll get a lot out of.”

With a successful trip in 2013 under his belt, Jones is eager to see what he can achieve over the course of his six-week adventure this year. Although he may not be en route with a map in hand, you can be sure that he will make the most of his road trip and gain as much experience as he can in the jiu-jitsu adventure of a lifetime.

Craig would like to thank his coach and cousin, Matt Jones, who helps with everything from jiu-jitsu instruction to strength and conditioning. He would also like to thank his main training partner, Lachlan Warne, and all of the guys at ISOHEALTH. Craig would also like to thank his sponsor, Ground Game Australia, for their support in his upcoming trip.

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.