Bodybuilding legend Jay Cutler still follows the sport closely since retirement in 2013. In a recent Cutler Cast episode, Cutler joined Milos Sarcev to break down how every former Mr. Olympia winner would fare against today’s Open class.
While building a successful career in the IFBB Pro League, Cutler reached the top of the sport in 2006 after dethroning the eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman. Inspired by his rival’s training practices, Cutler revealed some of the sacrifices it took to catch up with Coleman. He utilized high-volume training and ate 140 egg whites a day to maintain his Olympia-caliber physique.
Given the recent changes to the Men’s Open division, Cutler believes the category is moving back into an era similar to 90s bodybuilding. He supported the claim by pointing to the success Samson Dauda and Andrew Jacked enjoyed at the 35th annual Arnold Classic, where shape and beauty prevailed against mass and size.
In their latest endeavor, Cutler and Sarcev took a closer look at all former Mr. Olympias, and whether or not they would be competitive against today’s crop of Open talent.
Jay Cutler & Milos Sarcev Share Opinions on How Former Mr. Olympias Would Fare Today
Before assessing each Mr. Olympia winner, Sarcev touched on Lou Ferrigno’s chances of success.
“I was there in ’92 [for Lou Ferrigno] and he was just not competitive. And then, they thought maybe in ’93 he was going to do better but he didn’t. Then, finally, in ’94 they told him to do the Masters you know, he had the good enough condition and size but not good enough for the 90s. I doubt [he would do better today]. It’s still – proportionally when you think, width x-frame, conditioning, eh.”
Despite the dominance of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarcev isn’t convinced he’d shine on today’s Olympia stage. However, they both agreed Coleman and Dorian Yates would be ‘super competitive’ if they contended in the current era.
“Well, listen, he [Arnold Schwarzenegger] was so dominant back in the day right, but I think even you mentioned, I watched your Jay Walk the other day and there was a year maybe where Sergio could have beaten him. In 1972 in Germany, yeah,” Milos Sarcev said.
“Arnold, he defended his title against no one at one point right?” says Jay Cutler.
“Sergio Oliva, if he would come in crazy shredded condition that he never probably knew back in the day how to do it, but that physique, shredded and dry would be super competitive in any era including now,” Sarcev explained.
“We know Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman these guys would all be competitive right,” said Cutler.
“After Dorian it was Ronnie, Ronnie at his best, which I think is ’98, but ’98, ’99, 2001 Arnold Classic, 2003 Olympia – yeah he would be super competitive. Yeah [he’d win], okay, yeah,” Sarcev confirms.
Sarcev believes three-time Mr. Olympia Sergio Oliva and eight-time champ Lee Haney would have held their own against today’s Open talent as well. Though, he dismissed the chances of Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane, Chris Dickerson, and Samir Bannout.
“Sergio Oliva would be, Larry Scott wouldn’t, of course. Sergio Oliva would, Arnold — I don’t think he’d be competitive. Honestly, we all love Arnold he did the most for the sport. Physique-wise, if you don’t know the name and you see his physique, he wouldn’t be in the top. Next was Franco Columbo, after him, he wouldn’t be competitive. Frank Zane, unfortunately, I love Frank, he was my idol, but he was not big enough. He would be very good in Classic Physique of course, but not in the Open.
Then, in 1980, Arnold again, ’81, again Columbo, ’82 was Chris Dickerson, he wouldn’t be available. Then, ’83, Samir Bannout, no, he wouldn’t be – he was great, we love his physique but that was for that era. Then comes Lee Haney, Lee Haney would be competitive. I do believe so. It’s amazing when you actually look at Lee Haney.”
Additionally, Sarcev listed Cutler, Dexter Jackson, and Phil Heath as former Mr. Olympias who could stand their ground against today’s Open lineup.
“I loved your 2001 Olympia, your 2001 Iron Man, I was absolutely blown away. I was sitting next to Chris Aceto, you created the illusion of being 280 pounds full shredded dry,” Sarcev tells Cutler.
“Dexter Jackson, he would be very competitive,” Cutler said. “Phil Heath.”
“Phil Heath would be super competitive, especially,” Sarcev agreed. “You [Cutler] and Phil Heath at your best?”
“We never were at our best, I mean obviously I won the battles at my best, I mean I was never at my best when I competed against him when he came into his own right,” Cutler shared. “If he was here he’d say he wins, If I’m here I’d say I win.”
“Phil Heath at his best could win the title of course,” Sarcev added. “Legs [on Brandon Curry] need to come up. If his legs come up, he was beating Hadi Choopan every time.”
Before ending the discussion, Sarcev and Cutler agreed Brandon Curry and Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay still had the potential for redemption.
“Big Ramy, he came after Brandon.”
“I still think he can come back and be competitive,” says Jay Cutler.
“I think so too. Especially the pictures from Instagram on Saturday at the Arnold Classic, he looked – that was impressive. Friday I didn’t get exactly that impression. He was still not the best Ramy but questionably Saturday, maybe the best Ramy I’ve seen. Okay, minus arms, he had the better arms before and maybe back also.”
The last time a popular bodybuilder compared eras was four-time Classic Physique Olympia Chris Bumstead. In a recent Full Send Podcast, Cbum was asked how a battle with Arnold Schwarzenegger would play out. If Schwarzenegger faced him at the 2022 Olympia contest, Cbum said he would have defeated the bodybuilding icon.
RELATED: Jay Cutler Talks Mike Mentzer Quitting After losing to Arnold Schwarzenegger at 1980 Mr. Olympia
While they don’t believe every former Mr. Olympia could push into the first call-out, Cutler and Sarcev are confident a handful would likely assert themselves as Olympia title contenders in the modern era.
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