Paul Craig, hailing from Scotland, is a revered figure in mixed martial arts (MMA), demonstrating his skill and finesse within the highly competitive Middleweight division of the esteemed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
His journey as a professional athlete commenced in 2013, marking the beginning of a remarkable career trajectory that has captured the attention and admiration of fans worldwide.
Craig’s UFC journey began after honing skills and showcasing strength in the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA). This stint served as a crucial platform for him to refine his abilities and prove his capabilities before entering the UFC arena.
Craig’s success in BAMMA laid a strong foundation for his subsequent achievements in the ultimate proving ground of the UFC.
On this platform, he etched his name in history as the BAMMA World Light Heavyweight Champion. His tenure in BAMMA solidified his standing as a formidable fighter and provided a foundation for the excellence and proficiency he carries into every octagon encounter.
The year 2023 stands as a testament to Craig’s prowess and resilience as he ascends through the UFC rankings.
As of October 24, his skillful prowess has earned him the #13 spot in the highly competitive UFC middleweight rankings, a testament to his unwavering dedication, training regimen, and undeniable talent.
Craig’s journey embodies the essence of perseverance, grit, and skill that defines a true martial artist. His commitment to the sport and his undeniable prowess within the Middleweight division positions him as a force to be reckoned with—a fighter whose presence in the UFC arena commands respect and captivates audiences with every electrifying Performance.
Table of Contents
Paul Craig’s Early Career
Paul Craig’s ascent in the martial arts world during the early stages of his career is a tale of rapid progression and remarkable achievements.
His journey commenced under the guidance of a dedicated head coach, steering him from a lack of martial arts experience to an impressive 8–0 record as an amateur.
Notably, Craig exhibited sheer dominance in his fights, securing victories through first-round stoppages, a testament to his raw talent and unwavering dedication to the sport.
Transitioning to the professional arena, Craig continued his winning streak, maintaining an immaculate 8–0 record over four years.
This exceptional run caught the attention of the ultimate proving ground for mixed martial artists—the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In a significant milestone for his career, Craig received the UFC’s call, signifying a monumental step towards the pinnacle of MMA competition.
Adding to his diverse skill set, Craig showcased his versatility in November 2014 by securing a victory in a K1-rules fight held in Germany.
His proficiency in different fighting disciplines underscored his adaptability and commitment to mastering various aspects of combat sports.
However, Craig’s crowning achievement outside the UFC came at BAMMA 23, where he etched his name in the annals of the sport’s history.
In a riveting clash, he emerged victorious against Marcin Lazarz, seizing the BAMMA World Light Heavyweight Championship with a resounding submission win.
This victory established his reputation as a formidable contender, underscoring his prowess of thriving on significant platforms against top-tier adversaries.
It emphasized his capacity to perform exceptionally well in high-stakes situations against some of the best competition in his field, solidifying his standing among the elite in his sport.
His success in this momentous win showcased his ability to excel and assert dominance when facing formidable opponents on a significant stage.
Set to defend his BAMMA title against Chris Fields in Dublin, fate intervened tragically with the untimely passing of Portuguese fighter João Carvalho, resulting in the postponement of the scheduled event.
Despite rescheduling efforts, Craig encountered a setback due to an injury, damaging his ankle ligaments, which thwarted the much-anticipated fight against Fields.
Subsequently, Craig opted to pursue a new chapter in his career, preceding the defense of his BAMMA title, as he embarked on a pivotal journey with the UFC, signing a consequential 4-fight deal with the premier mixed martial arts organization.
Paul Craig’s early career narrative is a testament to his unwavering determination, adaptability, and resilience in the face of challenges, laying the foundation for a remarkable trajectory in the fiercely competitive world of mixed martial arts.
Paul Craig’s Ultimate Fighting Championship
Paul Craig’s journey within the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a tapestry woven with exhilarating triumphs, heart-pounding showdowns, and the undeterred spirit of a warrior.
His UFC debut unfolded on December 17, 2016, at UFC on Fox: VanZant vs. Waterson, facing off against Luis Henrique da Silva.
In an impressive showcase of his skills, Craig emerged victorious via second-round submission, earning the win and the esteemed Performance of the Night bonus—a testament to his impactful arrival onto the UFC stage.
March 4, 2017, marked Craig’s next fight against Tyson Pedro at UFC 209, which concluded with a first-round TKO loss. This encounter underscored the unforgiving nature of the sport but also highlighted Craig’s resilience in the face of adversity.
Continuing his UFC journey, Craig encountered Khalil Rountree at UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio on July 16, 2017, experiencing a first-round knockout loss, further showcasing the unpredictability and ferocity of mixed martial arts competition.
However, the tide turned in a historic fashion during his faceoff against Magomed Ankalaev on March 17, 2018, at UFC Fight Night 127.
In a spectacular display of tenacity and skill, Craig secured a late submission victory at 4:59 in the third round, etching his name in the UFC history books with the newest submission finish in a 3-round fight and earning another Performance of the Night bonus.
Following this monumental win, Craig solidified his commitment to the UFC by signing a new, consequential four-fight contract, poised to continue his quest for excellence within the octagon.
Craig displayed an unwavering determination throughout subsequent bouts, facing the highs and lows of competition.
Victories against Kennedy Nzechukwu, Alonzo Menifield, Vinicius Moreira, and Gadzhimurad Antigulov illuminated his prowess, securing impressive wins via submissions and earning Performance of the Night accolades.
Notably, his rematch against Maurício Rua at UFC 255 on November 21, 2020, culminated in a thrilling technical knockout victory in the second round, further solidifying Craig’s status as a force to be reckoned with in the light heavyweight division.
The journey continued with anticipated matchups and unfortunate cancellations, underscoring the unpredictability inherent in the sport.
However, Craig’s resilience and unyielding spirit persevered, evident in his triumphant victory against Nikita Krylov at UFC Fight Night 204 on March 19, 2022, secured via a first-round triangle choke, accompanied by yet another Performance of the Night honor.
While his path saw its challenges, Craig’s determination remained unshaken. However, his encounter against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Fight Night 208 on July 23, 2022, concluded with a unanimous decision loss, serving as a testament to the competitive landscape of the UFC.
Most recently, Craig faced Johnny Walker at UFC 283 on January 21, 2023, encountering a technical knockout loss in the first round, reflecting the unpredictability and high stakes that define every octagon showdown.
Paul Craig’s UFC journey is a testament to his resilience, skill, and unwavering dedication to the sport, showcasing the highs and lows of a professional mixed martial artist in pursuit of greatness within the most prestigious MMA organization in the world.
Paul Craig’s Move to Middleweight
Paul Craig’s transition to the middleweight division marked a pivotal shift in his UFC career, where he sought to carve a new path and establish dominance in a different weight class.
He made his middleweight division debut at UFC on ESPN+ 82 on July 22, 2023, facing against André Muniz.
In a thrilling display of his adaptability and tenacity, Craig emerged victorious with a second-round ground and pound TKO, showcasing his versatile skills and asserting his presence in the new weight category.
This impressive win signaled his successful transition and marked a monumental achievement as he secured his eighth Performance of the Night bonus, a testament to his continued excellence within the UFC.
However, the journey in the middleweight division brought its own set of challenges. On November 18, 2023, at UFC Fight Night 232, Craig faced against Brendan Allen in a highly anticipated matchup.
Despite his formidable skills, Craig encountered a setback in this encounter, succumbing to a rear-naked choke submission in the third round.
The article highlighted the competitive landscape of the middleweight division, where victories are hard-fought, and losses serve as valuable lessons in pursuing excellence.
Paul Craig’s move to the middleweight division showcased his adaptability and determination to test his abilities in a new weight class.
While experiencing both the thrill of victory and the sting of defeat, his journey underscores his resilience and unwavering pursuit of success within the ever-evolving realm of UFC competition.
Paul Craig’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Paul Craig’s expertise extends beyond mixed martial arts (MMA). He is an accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner, showcasing his mastery in various weight divisions and earning accolades in prestigious grappling tournaments.
His journey in the realm of BJJ began with remarkable victories, showcasing his prowess in different weight categories.
At the Scottish Grappling Challenge 4 in 2012, Craig triumphed in the Absolute division in No-Gi, securing the gold medal—a testament to his early prowess and versatility.
In 2013, Craig’s achievements soared as he participated in the Scottish BJJ Nationals, clinching the 1st place spot in the Advanced 97.5 kg Division, solidifying his stature as a force to be reckoned with in his weight class.
Additionally, at the 2013 Scotia Cup Winter Leg, he achieved a remarkable feat by securing 1st place victories in both the Purple Belt Super Heavyweight and Purple Belt Absolute Divisions, showcasing his dominance across different categories.
2015 saw Craig’s ascent continue as he triumphed at the British Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship, claiming the top spot in the Purple Belt 95+ kg Division.
This triumph earned him a coveted spot at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Additionally, he displayed versatility by securing 3rd place in the Absolute Purple 75+ kg Division, underscoring his proficiency in diverse weight classes.
Further solidifying his expertise, Craig’s victories continued in June 2016, where he showcased his skills by securing victories in both Gi and No-Gi categories at Empire Grappling, further enhancing his reputation in the BJJ circuit.
An incredible milestone in Craig’s BJJ journey occurred after his victory against Jamahal Hill in 2021, marking his promotion to the prestigious rank of black belt—an acknowledgment of his exceptional skills and dedication to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
His commitment to grappling excellence was evident in his harsh, back-and-forth sub-only grappling match against Sam Sweeney on August 27, 2022, at Holytown Havoc 2, where Craig emerged victorious in a challenging encounter.
However, the road in the BJJ world also witnessed its share of challenges. On September 24, 2022, Craig faced Jed Hue in the main event of Polaris 21, experiencing a submission loss via an ankle lock in a mere 21 seconds—an instance reflecting the unpredictability of high-level grappling competition.
Paul Craig’s journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a testament to his versatility, skill, and commitment to excellence across various weight divisions, showcasing his ability to excel and adapt in the demanding and dynamic world of grappling.
Paul Craig’s Professional Wrestling
Paul Craig’s multifaceted talents extend beyond mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as he has showcased his prowess as a professional wrestler, adding another dimension to his diverse skill set and sporting achievements.
Craig has made significant strides in professional wrestling, notably gracing the ring for Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW).
His tenure within ICW has been marked by notable accomplishments, including securing the prestigious ICW Tag Team Championship alongside Chris Bungard.
Their collective efforts and synergy culminated in a momentous victory, earning Craig the accolade of being a one-time ICW Tag Team Champion. This achievement solidified his presence and impact within the professional wrestling scene.
Craig’s foray into professional wrestling highlights his adaptability across various combat sports and showcases his versatility as an athlete capable of thriving in the demanding world of sports entertainment.
His ability to captivate audiences and achieve success in MMA and professional wrestling underscores his dedication, skill, and passion for diverse forms of athletic expression.
In professional wrestling, Paul Craig’s contributions testify to his versatility and innate talent, further cementing his status as a formidable presence across multiple sporting domains.
Paul Craig’s Personal Life
Beyond his thriving career in mixed martial arts (MMA), Paul Craig’s personal life unveils a tapestry woven with diverse experiences and contributions beyond the confines of the octagon.
Before embarking on his journey as an MMA fighter, Paul immersed himself in the football world, showcasing his athletic prowess and passion for sports.
His involvement in football extended beyond mere participation as he navigated the realms of coaching, channeling his knowledge and expertise to mentor aspiring athletes.
Transitioning into education, Paul redirected his focus and dedication towards shaping young minds by assuming the role of a teacher for an educational charity.
This transition from sports to education reflects his commitment to nurturing and empowering individuals in different capacities, utilizing his skills and passion to contribute positively to the community.
Furthermore, Paul Craig is more than just an athlete; he is a voice in podcasts. Alongside fellow Scottish MMA fighters Chris Bungard and Ross Cooper, Paul hosts the podcast “Leather’d.”
This platform allows them to share insights into the world of MMA. It serves as a forum for discussions on various topics, offering a glimpse into the lives and perspectives of these athletes beyond their professional endeavors.
His multifaceted journey—from the fields of football to the confines of the classroom and the podcast studio—reflects Paul Craig’s diverse interests, unwavering dedication, and desire to make a meaningful impact in different spheres of life.
His commitment to sports, education, and fostering discussions through podcasting embodies his holistic approach to life, showcasing his versatility and contributions beyond combat sports.
Paul Craig’s Championships and Accomplishments
Paul Craig’s illustrious career in mixed martial arts (MMA) stands adorned with an impressive array of accolades and accomplishments across various promotions, notably within the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and beyond.
Within the UFC, Craig has etched his name in the annals of MMA history with a remarkable tally of Performance of the Night bonuses—a staggering eight times—showcasing his ability to deliver thrilling and impactful performances within the octagon.
His stellar performances against formidable opponents such as Henrique da Silva, Magomed Ankalaev, Kennedy Nzechukwu, Vinicius Moreira, Gadzhimurad Antigulov, Jamahal Hill, Nikita Krylov, and André Muniz not only secured victories but also earned him these prestigious bonuses, solidifying his reputation as a fighter who consistently delivers standout performances.
Among his UFC accomplishments, Craig earned the second-highest Performance of the Night bonuses in UFC history—an exceptional testament to his consistent excellence.
Additionally, he ranks fifth in receiving Post-Fight bonuses in UFC Light Heavyweight division history, amassing seven—a testament to his knack for delivering thrilling and impactful fights.
Furthermore, Paul Craig’s prowess in submissions is unparalleled. He holds the second most submission wins in the UFC Light Heavyweight division, notching an impressive six victories by submission.
Among these submissions, his proficiency in executing triangle choke submissions stands out. He secured the most triangle choke submission wins in UFC Light Heavyweight division history, with an impressive count of four.
His aggressive and skilled approach is further highlighted by his standing in the records—tied for third most submission attempts in UFC Light Heavyweight division history, displaying an unwavering commitment to pursuing victory through his submission game.
Additionally, he shares the fifth position for the most finishes in UFC Light Heavyweight division history, boasting an impressive tally of eight.
Beyond the UFC, Craig’s impact extends to other promotions such as BAMMA, where he held the prestigious BAMMA World Light Heavyweight Championship, cementing his legacy as a dominant force outside the UFC.
Acknowledgment of his mastery extends beyond the octagon, as he earned recognition in grappling with a remarkable win at Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), where he clinched the ICW Tag Team Championship alongside Chris Bungard.
His accomplishments are not merely statistics but a testament to his skill, resilience, and relentless pursuit of excellence across multiple platforms in combat sports, solidifying Paul Craig’s standing as a decorated and revered figure in the realm of mixed martial arts and professional wrestling.
- Paul Craig – Wikipedia
- John Kavanagh Net Worth, Conor McGregor’s Coach – PlayersWiki
- Benedict: Online Fitness & Nutrition Coach – Disrupt Magazine
- MSJJO: The World Is Ours – MSJJO
- Paul Craig Fighter Profile – ESPN
- Paul Craig MMA Fighter Record – Sherdog
- Paul Craig Fight Details – Tapology
- UFC Fight Night: Brendan Allen Dominates Paul Craig – Eurosport