Tony "Tony Tiger" Williams


Full Name Tony Williams
Nick Name Tony Tiger
Class Masters
Weight 185 lbs
Rank Black Belt 1st degree
Height 5’11”
Association Carlson Gracie Team / Ambush BJJ-owner / Chicago MMA instructor


I was born in Brooklyn, NY and transplanted to the Midwest while playing football for the University of Wisconsin. While a student at Wisconsin, I was introduced to judo, Japanese jiu jitsu, and ultimately Brazilian jiu jitsu.

After Wisconsin, I went onto to coach football at the University of Iowa and open my own jiu jitsu school as there was none on campus at the time. During that time, I also started traveling to Chicago every weekend to train at the Carlson Gracie academy. Fast forward 20 years, and here I am now a Carlson Gracie black belt and owner of my own gym (Rebel Sport and Fitness) and jiu jitsu team (Ambush BJJ). In this time, I have built many great relationships, and as a result of this I am also an instructor at Chicago Mixed Martial Arts with head instructor Misho Ceko.

In my fighting career I have competed for over 20 years. My most notable victory was winning the IBJJ Chicago Open as Brown Belt as the middle heavyweight and absolute champion. Now I have turned my internet towards submission only even, having competed in Fight to Win Pro, XFO, and upcoming Grappling Games Pro.

Q&A Session Between Tony Williams and Elite Sports

Question: Who inspires you, past or present? Why do they inspire you?

Answer: My biggest inspiration in Jiu jitsu was Rickson Gracie. I've always admired the samurai mindset that he used to approach life and jiu jitsu. Of course, I am also inspired by my instructors Carlson Gracie Jr/Sr. Their legacy is something that I am extremely honored and proud to represent.

Question: What inspires you about BJJ? MMA?

Answer: What inspires me most about Jiu Jitsu is its simultaneous simplicity and complexity. I consider it one of the hardest endeavors I have ever undertaken. The countless techniques and variations means that in a lifetime you may never master all that it encompasses, but yet the simplicity and effectiveness of good technique is a beauty all in itself. It is something that keeps me coming back for more, always trying to get better and attain more technical proficiency

Question: What are your goals for this year? Next 3 years? Next 5 years?

Answer: My goals are simple. Increase the size of my school Ambush BJJ. Continue to challenge myself with competitions and tournaments. Continue to spread the jitsu love and enjoy the lifestyle.

Question: Any major accomplishments you’ve been able to achieve in that time?

Answer: My biggest accomplishment more than any medals or wins is the respect and reputation I’ve built for myself throughout Chicago over the years.

Question: Do you have a go-to finishing move?

Answer: My favorite go to moves as of late are anything stemming from a 2 on 1 arm set up.

Question: How long have you been training?

Answer: I started in 1996… 21 years

Question: How often do you train?

Answer: I train 3-5 or 6 times a week depending on how many privates I teach.

Question: What would be your dream fight?

Answer: Fight with best one and emerge as a winner.

Question: What do you think it takes to be a champion in your sports?

Answer: To be a champion in Jiu Jitsu it takes mat time! You need to put the time in sparring so that you become aware of both your strengths and weaknesses, mental and physical. Then you need the will and wisdom to train those weaknesses.

Question: What sort of gear do you usually keep in your gym bag before hitting the gym? Do you have different items for specific days.

Answer: My gym bag always has a GI or 2 for training. I’ll also keep Rashguards and Shorts and tape for when No-Gi is the preferred way to go.