At only 17 years old, Vannessa Griffin won the Adult Blue Belt Lightweight division at the 2015 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championship. She had zero points scored against her in the 5 matches to the Gold medal.
In the weight class, she defeated Heather Woods (Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu), Suvi-Tuuli Koikkalainen (Alliance International), Alicia Gonsolin (Yemaso BJJ), Anna Hyvarinen (ATT), and finally Maiara Angelica de Oliveira Silva (Gracie Humaita).
Head Coach, Julius Park, remarked, “Vannessa has a very complete game. She can pass the guard as well as play off her back. About half her matches, she wins with either sweeps or submissions from the guard and the other half, she is passing the guard. This is very rare especially among the lighter female weight classes. That is what makes her dangerous.”
The World Championship topped off a spectacular competition season for the Maryland resident. Vannessa ended the season 23-2, doing no competitions outside of the IBJJF and taking zero losses in the lightweight division.
Her resume now includes:
Atlanta Winter Open – Lightweight – Gold
Atlanta Winter Open – Open Class – Gold
Pan – Lightweight – Gold
Pan – Open Class – Silver *closeout with teammate
Boca Raton Open – Middleweight – Gold
Boca Raton Open – Open Class – Gold
World Championship – Lightweight – Gold
Due to her young age, she turns 18 at the end of the year, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation did not permit her to compete in the adult divisions until this year.
Vannessa, who will begin her freshman year of college in the fall, began training at her Martial Arts School in Baltimore in the Kids program at Crazy 88, a powerhouse
After the tournament, Griffin was both reflective and forward-looking.
“This is all I have wanted all year. My first World Championship title at age 17. I achieved my biggest goals for 2015. Blue Belt World Champion and getting my Purple Belt before my 18th birthday. So now I’m on to bigger goals.
Purple Belt World Champion in 2016 and being a Brown Belt before I turn 20.
I understand fully that these goals are very hard to achieve, but that doesn’t scare me. Setting high goals is just something I was taught to do and I’m ready to be held to them.
I want to thank my amazing coaches for helping me get to this point and I want to thank my family for the endless support.
Also, shoutout to Team Crazy 88 who watched and supported me the whole way through and to Ronin Brand for sponsoring me and helping me get to California. All much appreciated.Thank you to the people that have helped me along the way, I appreciate it even if it doesn’t always seem like it.”
The future looks bright for the young grappler!