Before he greenlights his 2023 Olympia prep, Derek Lunsford joined Flex Lewis for a talk about his future. In the latest Straight Outta the Lair Podcast, Lewis discussed their old rivalry and stressed how close Lunsford is to becoming the sport’s first two-division Mr. Olympia champion.
Former 212 Olympia Derek Lunsford’s name has grown tremendously in the bodybuilding world over the last few years. In 2022, Lunsford set himself up for success, having displayed a jaw-dropping physique at Jim Manion’s Pittsburgh Pro. This impromptu appearance was crucial as it paved the way for him to earn a special invite to compete in the Open Mr. Olympia.
Flex Lewis: ‘Going into This Year’s Olympia, Derek Is The One’
Lewis always wanted to be a two-division champion like former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor. However, he believes Lunsford is on that path now.
“Going into this year’s Olympia, I said to so many people – Derek Lunsford is the one. That Pittsburgh Pro, that blew my mind and everyone else’s. I thought to myself, thank God that guys not in the 212 anymore. I also said to myself, thank God I am not competing in the Open class against this guy. I also said, whoever is going to be standing next to that guy is in for a handful,” said Lewis.“What you’ve done since the 212 is honestly so inspiring. You say that you were never able to dethrone me, but you know what I can say about you, is, I might have beaten you in the 212 class but now you’re going to be – in my eyes – the first ever champ champ. That to me, because of Conor McGregor and many of the other guys from different weight divisions have done it, is and was my motivation.It was my motivation to be the first-ever two-division champ-champ. You now, whether you thought about it or not, it was consuming for me… I know [being] able to achieve something I’ll never be able to achieve now that I’m retired. I want to see you go to the moon and back,” said Lewis.
Lewis, Lunsford Talk ‘Born’ 212 Rivalry + Derek’s Time Training w/ 8x Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman
Flex Lewis and Derek Lunsford agree that most of the animosity toward each other was manufactured by their teams.
“We were rivals man, we were really butting heads,” said Derek Lunsford. “There was this born rivalry and now we realized, it didn’t really stem from us. There was external people fluffing things up. There was people in the middle doing [talking]. And we had no clue,” said Lewis.“It was firing us both up,” said Lunsford.“Listen, then it was yeah, I was doing a pose a most muscular, and Franco McGrath was standing behind me and then you literally did the same thing a day later. I’m looking at this: I’m like Frank am I reading into this, did he just do it because of us, and Frank’s like, ‘Yeah, he did!’ Frank was like the hype guy. He’d be like, ‘Did you see what Derek’s done today?’ It was definitely a planting of the seed going into that year . When I looked back, it’s truly what I needed. It’s what I needed,” said Lewis.
Bro, that’s Ronnie Coleman, saying that he believes I can be Mr. Olympia this year. Like, I want to give you words but I have none. It’s almost like, wow, holy crap! Then at the same time, wait a minute, now there’s this other level of pressure too. The greatest of the greats just said he can do it. Well now, I better freakin do it, you know what I mean. That’s my honest feeling when it comes to that.”