Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay will watch the 2023 Mr. Olympia competition from the sidelines after announcing his withdrawal on September 23. In a recent YouTube interview with athletes rep Bob Cicherillo, Elssbiay laid out his top five finishers at the biggest event of the year in no particular order.
Last December, the 2022 Mr. Olympia Weekend delivered an unforgettable night of action. Hadi Choopan reigned supreme in the Men’s Open headliner. However, to fulfill his greatest bodybuilding dream, the Iranian star was tasked with several challenges on his way to securing gold.
From a long waiting time backstage to battling his teammate Derek Lunsford in the finals, “The Persian Wolf” earned his first Olympia title in spite of adversity. As for Big Ramy, he finished in fifth place, a steep drop from his previous position as the reigning champion.
Just a few months later, Big Ramy decided to compete at the 2023 Arnold Classic, which had a $300,000 check reserved for the winner. Even though the Egyptian native came up short in fourth place, his physique improved by leaps and bounds from his Olympia performance.
Initially, Ramy said he couldn’t afford to take a year off to revamp his physique but has now changed his mind. After pulling out of the big show, Ramy treated fans to some of his top picks at the nearing Olympia contest.
Big Ramy Opens Up About Top 5 Picks for 2023 Mr. Olympia: “All Of Them Deserve to Have the Title”
Find Big Ramy’s top five picks for 2023 Mr. Olympia below (in no particular order):
Elssbiay was quick to mention Brandon Curry as a viable contender first and then followed that up with Hadi Choopan, Samson Dauda, and Derek Lunsford.
“Oh, that’s the hardest question you can ask me. No… If I’m inside I’d say me, but I can’t talk about other people. All of them deserve to have the title. Hadi is working very hard. Samson is getting better. Derek is getting bigger every time. Brandon… he’s a Mr. Olympia — everyone, we have the best lineup. I think it’s hard to say that right now for anyone.”
“I love all of them. Brandon I have a good friendship with for a long long time. Yeah [I’m friends with all of them]. Brandon to get them for the last 10 years we’ve been on the stage. I’ve known him for a while. That means I love to see him on the stage in the best shape and to see who will have that opportunity.”
“No [I don’t have a winner],” added Big Ramy.
Similar to the 2021 Mr. Olympia outcome, Ramy suggested that Nick Walker or Hunter Labrada could take fifth place.
“Maybe four, but it’s not who is first or second. I think Brandon would be and Hadi for sure, he’s the Mr. Olympia. Derek and Samson, that’s it. There’s a lot of guys. If you need my number five… I think Hunter can make something good because his last two shows, maybe his last show. Oh my gosh [forgot Nick Walker]. You know what, maybe, yeah, between Nick and Hunter.”
The former two-time Mr. Olympia titleholder hasn’t been the only champ to analyze the top talent headed to The Sunshine State. Already, bodybuilding legend Ronnie Coleman and Samir Bannout have predicted Derek Lunsford to dethrone Choopan at the next Mr. Olympia.
Open powerhouse Nick Walker, who took third at the last Olympia, admits he’s more focused on defeating Derek Lunsford than Choopan. He also said Dauda’s back is ‘shit’ and Big Ramy’s time on top ‘is done.’ However, it should be noted that Elssbiay has received stem cell therapy, and with more time, he could come back better than ever.
While he didn’t offer an exact prediction, at least fans have a clearer idea of Ramy’s top Men’s Open picks heading into the 2023 Olympia competition, slated for November 2-5, in Orlando, Florida’s Orange County Convention Center.