Gordon Ryan Cites Keenan Cornelius As Early Inspiration

Gordon Ryan Cites Keenan Cornelius As Early Inspiration

In a recent video by FloGrappling, Gordon Ryan discusses his early inspirations in jiu-jitsu, with special mention of Keenan Cornelius. While reflecting on his rivalry with Andre Galvao and their future careers, Gordon acknowledges Keenan as one of the first individuals who inspired him on his jiu-jitsu journey. From Keenan’s victories as a long and flexible American competitor to his dominance in the grappling world, Gordon found great admiration in his techniques and accomplishments. As Gordon now stands among the top ADCC champions, he pays tribute to the impact of Keenan and his fellow competitors, urging viewers to stay updated on the latest jiu-jitsu videos by liking, commenting, and subscribing to FloGrappling’s channels.

Throughout his development in the sport, Gordon shares that he initially watched the 2013 ADCC, where Gary competed, followed by the 2015 ADCC before his own experience in 2017. Among the athletes he observed, Keenan quickly became his favorite, as he admired the way Keenan, a flexible American, consistently defeated opponents. Additionally, Gordon mentions his interest in watching Dean Lister, who, in a heavier division, expertly executed leg locks at a time when they were not as commonly utilized. While Gordon did not have a specific individual in mind while watching the events, he acknowledges the presence of exceptional competitors like Ricardo Arona, Marcelo Garcia, and Mark Kerr, recognizing their contributions to the jiu-jitsu community and serving as a source of admiration for him. Ultimately, it was Gary, his instructor, and Keenan, an American competitor with similar capabilities, who served as his main sources of inspiration and influence.

Gordon Ryan Cites Keenan Cornelius As Early Inspiration

Inspiration from Keenan Cornelius


In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, certain athletes stand out for their unique style and impressive performances. One such athlete who has captivated the attention of many is Keenan Cornelius. From his early days in the Jiu-Jitsu scene to his groundbreaking leglock game, Keenan has become an inspiration for many practitioners, including the renowned Gordon Ryan.

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Early introduction to Keenan Cornelius

Gordon Ryan recalls his first exposure to Keenan Cornelius during the ADCC tournaments. In 2013, when Gary was competing in ADCC, Gordon watched the event with great interest. However, it was in 2015 that he truly started paying attention to specific competitors, and Keenan quickly became his favorite. Gordon was drawn to Keenan’s style and the way he effortlessly defeated his opponents.

Fascination with Keenan’s style

What fascinated Gordon the most about Keenan Cornelius was his unique blend of athleticism, flexibility, and technical skills. As a long and flexible American athlete, Keenan stood out among his peers and was a constant threat to everyone he faced. His ability to dominate opponents regardless of their size or experience level inspired Gordon to push his own limits and strive for excellence.

Watching Keenan’s leglock game

One area where Gordon found particular inspiration from Keenan was his expertise in leglocks. At a time when leglocks were not as popular in the sport, Keenan showcased their effectiveness and set a new standard. Gordon admired Keenan’s courage to venture into a technique that many others were hesitant to explore, and he credits Keenan for bringing attention to the power of leglocks in competitive Jiu-Jitsu.

Impressions of Keenan’s performances at ADCC

The ADCC tournaments are known to showcase the best of the best in the world of Jiu-Jitsu, and Keenan Cornelius’ performances left a lasting impression on Gordon Ryan. Watching Keenan compete against elite competitors and come out on top only solidified his status as an inspiring figure in Gordon’s journey. Keenan’s ability to consistently win against high-level opponents motivated Gordon to honing his own skills and aim for similar success.

Lack of focus on specific competitors

While Gordon Ryan acknowledges other incredible athletes who have made their mark in the ADCC Hall of Fame, he mentions that his inspiration primarily stemmed from the overall event rather than specific competitors. He admits to not dedicating time to studying and analyzing individual fighters. Instead, he would watch the event as a whole, soaking in the dynamic and competitive atmosphere.

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Acknowledging other ADCC Hall of Famers

Gordon Ryan does express admiration for other ADCC Hall of Famers, such as Ricardo Arona and Mark Kerr. He recognizes their extraordinary talents and contributions to the sport, but he clarifies that they have not influenced him as significantly as Keenan Cornelius and a few others. They may have picked his interest and garnered respect, but they did not play a crucial role in shaping his style or approach to Jiu-Jitsu.

Dean Lister’s influence on Gordon

Gordon Ryan mentions the influence of Dean Lister in the context of leglocks. He appreciated watching Lister, as he was a heavyweight competitor who excelled in utilizing leglocks when they were not commonly seen in that weight division. Lister’s unique style and his gripping strategies intrigued Gordon and provided further inspiration for exploring the leglock game.

Gary Tonon as a main source of inspiration

While Keenan Cornelius had a significant impact on Gordon Ryan’s early Jiu-Jitsu journey, it was his instructor, Gary Tonon, who truly shaped his development as a practitioner. Being his instructor and a highly skilled competitor himself, Gary’s expertise and guidance played a crucial role in Gordon’s growth. Gordon acknowledges that he learned the most from Gary and considers him one of his main sources of inspiration.

Identifying with Keenan’s style

One of the factors that made Keenan Cornelius a relatable figure to Gordon Ryan was their similarity in size and capabilities. Keenan’s successes demonstrated that someone of Gordon’s build could achieve great things in Jiu-Jitsu. This identification with Keenan gave Gordon a sense of confidence and a desire to reach the same level of dominance in the sport.


Through his account of his early inspirations in Jiu-Jitsu, Gordon Ryan highlights the limited influence that specific competitors had on his journey. Instead, it was his instructor, Gary Tonon, who played a pivotal role in his development. Gordon also acknowledges the importance of training partners and the value of inspiration from those who share similar attributes. Keenan Cornelius, with his unique style and remarkable performances, remains a figure that inspired Gordon’s own growth in the sport.

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