Keenan Cornelius Back in Copa Podio, No Longer a Superfight

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Keenan submits an opponent at the 2012 No-Gi World Championships / Photo by Erin Herle

Originally, Keenan Cornelius from Team Lloyd Irvin was planned to have a superfight with fellow brown belt champion, Felipe Pena in the Copa Podio 2013 Heavyweight Grand Prix event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Due to interferences with the Lloyd Irvin BJJ Kumite tournament on Keenan’s home turf this month, the superfight was cancelled.

With some new arrangements, however, the brown belt ace will now be attending for sure as a member of the yellow team. This tournament is designed for heavyweights, a small jump in weight for Keenan who resided in the middle weight category for most of this year. 

Top of the podium at the 2012 Abu Dhabi World Cup Trials New York

He is no stranger to absolute divisions as he conquered all of which he entered on his way to becoming the 2012 Grand Slam Champion, weight and absolute. He further showcased his abilities to match with heavier opponents at the 2012 Abu Dhabi World Pro Cup Trials in New York back in October as he won the -92kg brown/black belt division as well as placing third in the heavy absolute (+92 kg). In his path, he defeated world champion Roberto “Tussa” Alencar who is a native to the heavyweight divisions as well as champion of numerous absolutes.

Keenan shows no hesitation in his search for gold medals as a full-time medal chaser at the Team Lloyd Irvin Headquarters in Camp Springs, MD by his willingness to go against the top guys in the world, whatever weight they may be. When asked how he was approaching this event he told, “Go big or go home.”

In terms of  the Copa Podio Jiu-Jitsu event next month, Keenan is set to be included in a pool with Rodolfo Vieira, Leonardo Nogueira, Alexandre Ceconi and Xande Ribeiro. His first match is against Leonardo Nogueira of team Alliance, current super heavyweight world champion. In the green group, there is Alexandre Souza, Antonio Braga Neto, Lucio Lagarto, Bruno Bastos and Joao Gabriel Rocha.

If you are impressed by Keenan’s invite, his coach Lloyd Irvin, Jr can explain why you should be. From his facebook, he writes:

“This kid Keenan Cornelius is living the BJJ DREAM, 2 years ago no one knew who he was, he wasn’t winning anything, then in 2012 he became the first person to double grand slam ever and next month he will be competing against some of the absolute best black belts in BJJ today! WOW what a ride. Who else goes from not winning any purple belt tournaments to competing against Rodolfo Vieira & Xande in 2 years. Keenan has been added to the BIG BOY tournament”

To know more about the Copa Podio taking place January 13, please visit:


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