Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team History, Fighter Stats, Biographies and News

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu store for Jits Magazine
Keenan Cornelius

Keenan Cornelius is a Hawaiian and a famous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor with a tremendous fan base in the United States. The talented fighter received his black belt from André Galvão on September 2013 though he started his career as a grappler training under BJ Penn and Lloyd Irvin‘s tuition where he won all the top tournaments in the purple and brown belt levels, being considered the most accomplished brown belt of all time.

Keenan Cornelius Jiu Jitsu

Full Name: Keenan Kai-James Cornelius

Nickname: n/a

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Reyson Gracie > Osvaldo Alves > Luis Dagmar > André Galvão > Keenan Cornelius

Main Achievements:

  • World Jiu Jitsu Champion (2013 brown, 2012 purple weight & absolute)
  • World No Gi Champion (2012 brown weight & absolute, 2011)
  • IBJJF Pro League Champion (2014)
  • Five Grappling Champion (2013)
  • BJJ Kumite Champion – Gi and No Gi (2012 brown)
  • Pan American Champion (2014 black, 2013 brown weight & absolute, 2012 purple weight & absolute)
  • European Open Champion (2013 brown weight & absolute, 2012 purple weight & absolute)
  • Brazilian National Champion (2012 purple weight & absolute)
  • ADCC Bronze Medallist (2013 weight & absolute)

Favourite Position/Technique: Spider Guard, De La Riva Guard, Worm Guard

Weight Division: 88kg/194lbs

Team/Association: Atos

Keenan Cornelius Merchandise

Keenan Cornelius Biography

Keenan Cornelius was born in Hawaii on the 25th of February, 1992. Keenan’s father, Tom Callos was a 6th degree Tae Kwon Do black belt who started teaching Cornelius the Korean striking art when he was just 4 years old, though his son was not interested in martial arts at that age and stopped training early on. He found Jiu Jitsu at the age of 14, again through his father. His dad was a big fan of mixed martial arts and had some basic grappling concepts, in fact, it was Mr Callos who introduced BJ Penn to BJJ a long time before Keenan ever got involved in the sport. Keenan’s father was a blue belt at the time and opened a small gym for his son to train with his friends once or twice per week, the kids (all big fans of the UFC) used the space more as an open mat as most of them had some wrestling experience from school. He was graded by Carlos Valente to green belt as Mr Valente passed by Keenan’s town to give a seminar and assessed his skill level as above white belt.

By the age of 15, Keenan started getting more interested in Jiu Jitsu and chose to visit a gym where Cassio Werneck coached. He enjoyed the classes but couldn’t deal with the commute every day, so only visited the academy two or three times per month. At Werneck’s gym, Cornelius met Andris Brunovskis, a kid (at the time) who would push young Keenan to further develop his skills.

When in his mid teens, Cornelius’ father took him for a weekend of training at the BJ Penn academy in Hilo. There he spent time with BJ (one of Keenan’s idols at the time) and his brother, Cornelius liked it so much he decided to enroll in a college in Hilo so he could train every day at the Penn’s gym.

Although Keenan did train for two years at the BJ Penn academy, these were times when BJ was still a very active competitor in the UFC and often wondered the country in training camps and other fighting related activities, which meant the gym didn’t have a full time black belt as a coach and on top of that, wasn’t very gi orientated. Keenan had a ton of talent and earned his purple belt under BJ after a silver medal at an important NAGA event. However, months later in a conversation with his friend Andris Brunovskis, he found out about Lloyd Irvin and his camp, where Brunovskis was now training. Andris spoke such good things about “Master” Lloyd’s training camp, Keenan became convinced this was the place for him, and so he left BJ Penn and started training with Irvin in Maryland.

At Lloyd Irvin’s academy, Keenan Cornelius’ raw talent flourished into one of the most talented fighters of his generation winning all major competitions on the IBJJF roster, back to back as a purple belt and a brown belt. Keenan’s career picked up quickly and he became somewhat of a celebrity among BJJ enthusiasts in the United States who saw Cornelius as the big US hope for a future shot at an absolute world title in the black belt division.

On 2013, after two of Lloyd Irvin’s students were accused of raping a fellow team mate of Lloyd Irvin’s academy in a barbaric affair, Lloyd Irvin himself came under scrutiny, when it was made public that Irvin to had been accused of gang rape in a case that dated back to 1990. In a continuation of the shocking case that came to light on January 2013, early in March of the same year a fellow team mate of Keenan named Jordon Shultz, revealed that one of the female students at TLI had come to him explaining how Lloyd Irvin tried to sexually molest her. The continuous stream of negative information surrounding TLI led a few of the main competitors of the team to abandon the organization, Keenan included.

Keenan moved on to the Atos team camp led by André Galvão who accepted the grappling prodigy with open arms. A few months later on September the 14th, 2013, Galvão awarded Cornelius his black belt.

Banner picture by Gracie Mag.

Keenan Cornelius Grappling Record

    12 (36%)
    2 (6%)
    16 (48%)
    3 (9%)
    0 (0%)
  • BY DQ
    0 (0%)


Choke from back
Arm in Ezekiel
Triangle armbar
Heel hook
Mata leao
Verbal tap
Darce choke
    7 (70%)
    1 (10%)
    0 (0%)
    1 (10%)
    0 (0%)
  • BY DQ
    1 (10%)


Keenan Cornelius Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
2915Romulo BarralRomulo BarralLPointsADCCU88kgSemi f.2013
2930Roberto AbreuRoberto AbreuLPointsADCCAbsoluteSemi f.2013
3041Alexander TransAlexander TransLPts: 3x2Pan AmericanAbsolute1/4 final2014
3259Marcus AlmeidaMarcus AlmeidaLPts: 2x2, AdvWorld Pro.AbsoluteSemi f.2014
3261Andre GalvaoAndre GalvaoLRefree DecisionWorld Pro.Absolute3/4 place2014
3272Braulio EstimaBraulio EstimaLPointsWorld Pro.U94kgSemi f.2014
3305Marcus AlmeidaMarcus AlmeidaLPts: 10x4World Champ.AbsoluteSemi f.2014
3402Diogo GamonalLDQWorld Champ.U88kgRounds2014
3522Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesLPts: 4x0No Gi WorldsAbsoluteFinal2014
3608Leandro LoLeandro LoLPts: 6x2NYC ProU94kgFinal2014
2539Lucas LeiteLucas LeiteWArmbarWorld ExpoAbsoluteSuperfight2013
2916Pablo PopovitchPablo PopovitchWVerbal tapADCCU88kg3/4 Place2013
2932Dean ListerDean ListerWPointsADCCAbsolute3/4 Place2013
2967Diego GamonalWTriangle armbarPro LeagueU94kgSemi f.2013
2969Jackson SousaJackson SousaWPts: 2x0Pro LeagueU94kgFinal2013
2993Kevin CaseyWHeel hookMetamoris 3OpenSuperfight2014
2996Beneil DariushWHeel hookFIVE Rd RobinAbsoluteGroups2013
2998Jackson SousaJackson SousaWRefree DecisionFIVE Rd RobinAbsoluteGroups2013
2999James PuopoloJames PuopoloWMata leaoFIVE Rd RobinAbsoluteGroups2013
3001Gary TononWPts: 14x0FIVE Rd RobinAbsoluteGroups2013
3026UnknownWArm in EzekielPan AmericanAbsoluteRd 22014
3033Luiz PanzaLuiz PanzaWPts: 8x6Pan AmericanAbsoluteRd 32014
3103Sadayoshi KurimoriWChoke from backPan AmericanU88kgRd12014
3112Murilo SantanaMurilo SantanaWPts: 4x2Pan AmericanU88kg1/4 final2014
3113Rodrigo PimpolhoWTriangle armbarPan AmericanU88kgSemi f.2014
3149Stephen MartinezWArm in ezekielFIVE Cali. 1Absolute1/4 final2014
3151Lance GlynnWPointsFIVE Cali. 1AbsoluteSemi f.2014
3153Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesWPts: 4x0FIVE Cali. 1AbsoluteFinal2014
3254R. EvangelistaR. EvangelistaWChoke from backWorld Pro.AbsoluteRd 12014
3258Braulio EstimaBraulio EstimaWPts: 2x2, AdvWorld Pro.Absolute1/4 Final2014
3271Jackson SousaJackson SousaWChoke from backWorld Pro.U94kg1/4 final2014
3278Carlos EduardoWRefree DecisionWorld Champ.AbsoluteRd 12014
3296Leandro LoLeandro LoWPts: 6x4World Champ.AbsoluteRd 42014
3301Leo NogueiraLeo NogueiraWTriangleWorld Champ.Absolute1/4 Final2014
3401Maciel TrindadeWTriangleWorld Champ.U88kgRounds2014
3439Vinny MagalhaesVinny MagalhaesD---Metamoris 4AbsoluteSuperfight2014
3513Abraham MarteAbraham MarteWPts: 2x2, AdvNo Gi WorldsAbsoluteRounds2014
3518James PuopoloJames PuopoloWPts: 8x2No Gi WorldsAbsolute1/4 final2014
3520Gary TononWPts: 23x2No Gi WorldsAbsoluteSemi f.2014
3545Tanner RiceWKneebarNo Gi WorldsU88kg1/4 final2014
3549Murilo SantanaMurilo SantanaWPts: 2x0No Gi WorldsU88kgSemi f.2014
3551Arnaldo OliveiraWDarce chokeNo Gi WorldsU88kgFinal2014
3585Roberto AlencarRoberto AlencarWPts: 12x0Pro LeagueU94kgSemi f.2014
3587Jackson SousaJackson SousaWRefree DecisionPro LeagueU94kgFinal2014
3675Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesD---Metamoris 5AbsoluteSuperfight2014

Keenan Cornelius vs Gianni Grippo

Keenan Cornelius vs Morris Ayala

Keenan Cornelius vs João Miyao

Keenan Cornelius vs Max Bohanan




This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)


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