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

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

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 (2014 black, 2012 brown weight & absolute, 2011)
  • IBJJF Pro League Champion (2014)
  • Five Grappling ‘Round Robin’ Champion (2013)
  • BJJ Kumite Champion – Gi and No Gi (2012 brown)
  • Pan American Champion (2015, 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:

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

    22 (38%)
    4 (7%)
    28 (48%)
    4 (7%)
    0 (0%)
  • BY DQ
    0 (0%)


Choke from back
Heel Hook
Triangle armbar
Darce choke
Arm in Ezekiel
Verbal tap
Mata leao
Inverted armbar
North South choke
Inverted triangle
    9 (64%)
    2 (14%)
    0 (0%)
    2 (14%)
    0 (0%)
  • BY DQ
    1 (7%)


Keenan Cornelius Fight History

ID Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
3763Romulo BarralRomulo BarralLPointsADCC88KGSF2013
3805Roberto AbreuRoberto AbreuLPointsADCCABSSF2013
3971Alexander TransAlexander TransLPts: 3x2Pan AmericanABS1/4F2014
4212Marcus AlmeidaMarcus AlmeidaLPts: 2x2, AdvWorld Pro.ABSSF2014
4214Andre GalvaoAndre GalvaoLRefree DecisionWorld Pro.ABS3PLC2014
4226Braulio EstimaBraulio EstimaLPointsWorld Pro.94KGSF2014
4264Marcus AlmeidaMarcus AlmeidaLPts: 10x4World Champ.ABSSF2014
4363Diogo GamonalLDQWorld Champ.88KGRDS2014
4505Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesLPts: 4x0No Gi WorldsABSF2014
4592Leandro LoLeandro LoLPts: 6x2NYC Pro94KGF2014
5074Leo NogueiraLeo NogueiraLPts: 0x0, AdvPan AmericanABS1/4F2015
5391Victor EstimaVictor EstimaLRefree DecisionWorld Pro85KGSF2015
5451Alexander TransAlexander TransLPts: 2x0World ProABSSF2015
5453Leandro LoLeandro LoLPts: 4x2World ProABS3RD2015
3280Lucas LeiteLucas LeiteWArmbarWorld ExpoABSSUPERF2013
3750Clark GracieClark GracieWPts: 4x2ADCC88KGRD12013
3758Oskar PiechotaWDarce chokeADCC88KG1/4F2013
3764Pablo PopovitchPablo PopovitchWVerbal tapADCC88KG3PLC2013
3797Erza LennonWHeel HookADCCABSRD12013
3803Oskar PiechotaWPts: 8x0ADCCABS1/4F2013
3807Dean ListerDean ListerWPointsADCCABS3PLC2013
3872Diego GamonalWTriangle armbarPro League94KGSF2013
3874Jackson SousaJackson SousaWPts: 2x0Pro League94KGF2013
3936Kevin CaseyWHeel hookMetamoris 3ABSSUPERF2014
3939Beneil DariushWHeel hookFIVE Rd RobinABSGP2013
3941Jackson SousaJackson SousaWRefree DecisionFIVE Rd RobinABSGP2013
3942James PuopoloJames PuopoloWMata leaoFIVE Rd RobinABSGP2013
3944Gary TononWPts: 14x0FIVE Rd RobinABSGP2013
3955UnknownWArm in EzekielPan AmericanABSRD22014
3963Luiz PanzaLuiz PanzaWPts: 8x6Pan AmericanABSRD32014
4033Sadayoshi KurimoriWChoke from backPan American88KGRD12014
4042Murilo SantanaMurilo SantanaWPts: 4x2Pan American88KG1/4F2014
4043Rodrigo PimpolhoWTriangle armbarPan American88KGSF2014
4082Stephen MartinezWArm in ezekielFIVE Cali. 1ABS1/4F2014
4084Lance GlynnWPointsFIVE Cali. 1ABSSF2014
4086Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesWPts: 4x0FIVE Cali. 1ABSF2014
4204R. EvangelistaR. EvangelistaWChoke from backWorld Pro.ABSRD12014
4211Braulio EstimaBraulio EstimaWPts: 2x2, AdvWorld Pro.ABS1/4F2014
4224UnknownWOmoplataWorld Pro.94KGRDS2014
4225Jackson SousaJackson SousaWChoke from backWorld Pro.94KG1/4F2014
4236Carlos EduardoWRefree DecisionWorld Champ.ABSRD12014
4255Leandro LoLeandro LoWPts: 6x4World Champ.ABSRD 42014
4260Leo NogueiraLeo NogueiraWTriangleWorld Champ.ABS1/4F2014
4362Maciel TrindadeWTriangleWorld Champ.88KGRDS2014
4402Vinny MagalhaesVinny MagalhaesD---Metamoris 4ABSSUPERF2014
4452unknownWInverted armbarAmerican Nat.88KG1/4F2014
4453Ignacio NetoWArmbarAmerican Nat.88KGSF2014
4455Eduardo TellesEduardo TellesWPts: 0x0, AdvAmerican Nat.88KGF2014
4496Abraham MarteAbraham MarteWPts: 2x2, AdvNo Gi WorldsABSRDS2014
4501James PuopoloJames PuopoloWPts: 8x2No Gi WorldsABS1/4F2014
4503Gary TononWPts: 23x2No Gi WorldsABSSF2014
4528Ricardo RezendeRicardo RezendeWNorth South chokeNo Gi Worlds88KGRD12014
4529Tanner RiceWKneebarNo Gi Worlds88KG1/4F2014
4533Murilo SantanaMurilo SantanaWPts: 2x0No Gi Worlds88KGSF2014
4535Arnaldo OliveiraWDarce chokeNo Gi Worlds88KGF2014
4569Roberto AlencarRoberto AlencarWPts: 12x0Pro League94KGSF2014
4571Jackson SousaJackson SousaWRefree DecisionPro League94KGF2014
4665Yuri SimoesYuri SimoesD---Metamoris 5ABSSUPERF2014
4743Dean ListerDean ListerWInverted trianglePolarisABSSUPERF2015
5061Elliot KellyWChoke from backPan AmericanABSRD22015
5066Tim SpriggsTim SpriggsWRefree DecisionPan AmericanABSRD32015
5160Jared LawtonWTrianglePan American88KGRD22015
5165Renato CardosoRenato CardosoWPts: 5x2Pan American88KG1/4F2015
5169Murilo SantanaMurilo SantanaWPts: 4x0Pan American88KGSF2015
5250Marcos SouzaMarcos SouzaWPts: 12x2Marianas OpenABS1/4F2015
5253Lucas LeiteLucas LeiteWPts: 4x2Marianas OpenABSSF2015
5254Mike FowlerMike FowlerWChoke from backMarianas OpenABSF2015
5372William DiasWPts: 6x4World Pro85KGRD12015
5381Victor SilverioVictor SilverioWArmbarWorld Pro85KGRD22015
5388Clark GracieClark GracieWPts: 7x0World Pro85KG1/4F2015
5392AJ SousaWPts: 3x0World Pro85KG3RD2015
5440Fabio GalebWTriangleWorld ProABSRD12015
5442Tarsis HumphreysTarsis HumphreysWPts: 2x0World ProABSRD22015
5448Felipe PenaFelipe PenaWPts: 2x2, AdvWorld ProABS1/4F2015

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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