Tony Jeffries is a former professional boxer and a bronze medalist from the 2008 Olympics, and he doesn’t think using BJJ is the best idea in a street fight. While he might seem unqualified to make that assessment on first glance, he’s actually been gaining plenty of experience in Jiu-Jitsu over the last few years. Although Jeffries is probably a little biased towards striking thanks to his extensive boxing background, he’s had a fair amount of grappling training and is pretty well-positioned to talk about the topic. In fact, Jeffries recently got involved in an intense round of sparring with ADCC and IBJJF no gi world champion Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu.
In fairness, Jeffries did start out his video by explaining 4 reasons why he believes that BJJ is actually the best martial art for self-defense before he explains 4 reasons why you shouldn’t use it in a street fight. The first reason why you shouldn’t be using Jiu-Jitsu in a street fight is probably the most obvious, and is actually the main criticism that people outside of the sport make. Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t involve any striking and although there are certain academies and gyms that do include striking as part of their training, the vast majority and the sport itself do not. This means that BJJ practitioners can be unprepared for the reality of what it feels like to get punched in the face, and might not react well when that happens.
The second reason he gives is that every street fight is going to start standing and will likely stay that way until you can take someone down, something that BJJ doesn’t prioritize all that much and will be significantly different when someone is throwing strikes. The third reason that Jeffries gives is that Jiu-Jitsu is a clear one-on-one sport, and it’s virtually impossible to grapple with more than one person successfully. While facing multiple attackers is obviously incredibly difficult no matter what you try to do, it’s significantly easier to try and strike with more than one person than it is to try and grapple with them.
The fourth and final reason that Jeffries gives for for why you shouldn’t rely on BJJ in a street fight is that you don’t have use of the gi in any other scenario. It’s obviously worth learning to adapt techniques without the use of the gi and for practitioners looking for self-defense training specifically, it’ll be much more useful to train in no gi instead. In conclusion, Jeffries thinks that the best solution is to train both boxing and BJJ so that you can make yourself well-equipped for all scenarios.
Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries uploaded the video where he explains why you shouldn’t use BJJ in a street fight to his official YouTube channel: