As a former four-time Mr. Olympia titleholder, Jay Cutler‘s opinion regarding the Men’s Open division carries substantial weight. With this year’s Mr. Olympia contest approaching in less than four weeks, Cutler took to YouTube on October 8, to lay out why Derek Lunsford is the leading favorite.
The Men’s Open division has undergone a dramatic transformation as of late. For starters, the former champion, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay was dethroned by Hadi Choopan in an unforgettable Mr. Olympia event last December. However, that wasn’t even the biggest shock of the night, as former 212 Olympia Derek Lunsford took that honor.
When he stepped on stage to hit his front relaxed pose, the crowd inside the Planet Hollywood venue quieted. Despite coming up from a division limited to 212 pounds, Lunsford not only held his own but dominated men who were tipping the scales with 300-pound physiques. He finished second place at his first Open Olympia show, a promising sign for 2023.
With bodybuilding veterans dissecting every possible outcome of the contest, Cutler opened up about why Derek Lunsford is the biggest threat to Choopan on the sport’s ultimate battlegrounds.
Jay Cutler Discusses Derek Lunsford’s 2023 Mr. Olympia-Winning Potential and Open Lineup
According to Jay Cutler, “too much negativity forced” Big Ramy out of the nearing 2023 Mr. Olympia competition.
“I’m excited to see who is going to be the next or is it going to be a continuation or are we going to see a new champ? I think you know… we’re still going to see the top guys pretty much the same. I’m curious to see how Brandon Curry does. You know he’s been a little hidden. I thought Ramy would definitely compete. I was disappointed to hear he’s out. I think he’s just – too much negativity forced him to not do it.”
“But I’m curious to see who the top dogs are going to be and who will they hype. Who’s going to be the pusher for like that could have or should of or almost won right?” shared Jay Cutler.
When asked about a potential frontrunner, Cutler named Lunsford and credited the star for his aesthetics.
“Derek I think [is the frontrunner]. I think Derek because he was second last year, he came up from 212 it was kind of a surprise right? He came in and got the special invitation to get there. He didn’t qualify you know other than an invitation, he didn’t win any Open shows. So for him, you know it was like what did people expect? It’s like the year Ramy – Ramy won too and he had a special invitation that year remember?
There wasn’t much negativity on that, you’d think people would be like, ‘Well he didn’t qualify.’ But they were respectful, he deservingly has the aesthetics right… but you know Hadi also. I mean, who would have thought he would actually come through after being third and fourth? You know, the biggest disappointment I think with the Olympia is like if I look back in the last few years, Brandon was right there, then he won.”
Looking back on the lineage of Mr. Olympia champions, Cutler still believes Phil Heath could be competitive today.
“Obviously, Shawn [Rhoden] didn’t get to defend the title. Bonac was second one year. Phil [Heath] stopped which I think Phil could have still been very competitive up there. Hard to see Dexter go because we thought he was timeless. I think Dexter still could have found another edge to himself.”
Even though “The Comeback Kid” won’t offer predictions, plenty of other bodybuilding veterans have taken up the task. Cutler’s predecessor and former eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman is convinced Derek Lunsford will unseat Choopan as champion next month. In addition, former 1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout also backed Lunsford to come out on top.
Should Derek Lunsford capture the prestigious 2023 Mr. Olympia title, he will make history by becoming the first two-division Mr. Olympia champion, a career-defining achievement. Though, in order to do so, he’ll have to crush the dreams of his teammate Choopan on stage.