How Volkanovski’s training style elevated Craig Jones’ coaching game

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has been working extensively on his grappling in recent years, including training under the tutelage of elite grappler Craig Jones. While Volkanovski has clearly benefitted in expanding his MMA skillset from Jones, perhaps the less apparent beneficiary has been Jones himself.

In a recent podcast appearance, Craig Jones credited his work with Volkanovski for taking his own coaching style to another level. Volkanovski utilizes a training approach focused on achieving a high work rate through sustained bursts of activity. This differs from a more traditional jiu-jitsu philosophy centered on flowing rolls of longer duration.

According to Jones, introducing timed, high intensity rounds into training has better prepared his students for competitions like ADCC that feature multiple shorter matches. In a recent podcast, Jones explained as much.

“I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from those guys for coaching because I think the way they train applies better for ADCC like Volk’s ability. His cardio and he’s like high intensity bursts of energy that maintain is something we took a lot for some of the guys competing,” said Jones.

He also notes that Volkanovski quickly implements strategic adjustments that Jones presents between rounds. This reactive ability causes Jones to give more constructive feedback during matches rather than overly directive instructions.

While the relationship clearly provides immense benefit toward expanding Volkanovski’s grappling repertoire for MMA, Jones credits his featherweight counterpart for elevating the technical side of his coaching. The incorporation of intense, time-capped training rounds looks set to pay dividends for Jones’ stable of grapplers.