Keiko Stars: Keenan Cornelius’ phenomenal mark on Jiu-Jitsu history

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Keenan Cornelius

Keenan Cornelius is a known name and inspiration for the upcoming generation of Jiu-Jitsu competitors. His accomplishments have been unmatched by anyone so far at his ranks in purple and brown belt, leading to his phenomenon reputation. Now only 21-years-old he is considered among the best in the world but it took him seven years to get to where he is today. The motivation to begin training Jiu-Jitsu stemmed from his desire to look cool at school and the gateway opened by his step-father, the first instructor for UFC fighter BJ Penn.

keiko offer labor dayIn 2012, Keenan Cornelius began a raid on the competition mats of Lisbon, Portugal’s European Championship. Despite many attempts at previous championships local and prestigious, he always fell short of the podium. Fueled by the refusal to lose, Keenan competed that day in the purple belt division determined to give his all so that even if his hand wasn’t raised, he would at least tire his opponent enough to prevent him from moving forward. He went on to defeat all ten opponents and earned the first of what would be many double golds in his weight and absolute.

Throughout the year he gained more and more gold medals and increasingly more submission finishes. At the 2012 World Championship he won both weight and absolute once more giving him the lone title of “double grand slam champion” after winning double gold at all four major IBJJF tournaments (Europeans, Pan Ams, Brazilian Nationals, Worlds). After receiving his brown belt he went on to win in international competitions, submission-only superfights, the IBJJF championships and was even invited to the Copa Podio Heavyweight Grand Prix despite being the only brown belt and the lightest athlete in his group among the top black belts in the world.

Today he trains under Andre Galvao at the Atos academy in San Diego, CA with the ADCC on his mind. He is currently training for the -88kg division with fellow teammates Rafael Mendes, JT Torres as well as Galvao.


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There are 13 comments for this article
  1. Alex Epstein at 7:06 pm

    "His accomplishments have been unmatched by anyone so far at his ranks in purple and brown belt"…What about Kron Gracie, who had 50+ consecutive submissions at purple and brown belt. Every time he competed as a brown belt, he finished the other person. *He* is unmatched.

  2. Ruben Paredes Jr at 4:56 pm

    Keenan I admire you more for your humbleness than your accomplishments, the true mark of a champion, and the hits keep coming, now go get yourself an ADCC title buddy and give us more to talk about, I always reference you when I speak to my son about Jiu-Jitsu…awesome role model for this generation…

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