Bodybuilding legend Jay Cutler is looking ahead at the upcoming 2023 Mr. Olympia contest taking place November 2-5. In a recent Cutler Cast podcast, Cutler discussed the Men’s Open division changing and who might emerge as the next Mr. Olympia.
With two major bodybuilding events in the books, fans are beginning to take inventory of the new Open class hierarchy. At the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, balance and conditioning prevailed as Hadi Choopan took home his first Sandow. Not only was Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay dethroned in fifth place, but fans were surprised by 212-turned-Open standout Derek Lunsford’s runner-up performance.
Less than three months later, the 2023 Arnold Classic took over Columbus, Ohio for its 35th event. In the end, Samson Dauda claimed gold though fans were critical of the outcome and scorecards. Even some veterans of the sport like Chris Aceto and former Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout took issue with the perfect scores Dauda received in Ohio.
In light of the controversy, event announcer Bob Cicherillo has taken to a few Voice of Bodybuilding podcasts to provide more details on the judge’s decision to award Dauda the win over Walker. He explained that Dauda had the best combination of factors such as shape, aesthetics, balanced proportions, conditioning, and symmetry.
He also went as far as to say that Dauda at 100% would win the next Olympia contest. The latest to offer his thoughts on the 2023 Olympia is Jay Cutler, who is adamant that it will take a massive effort to defeat Hadi Choopan.
Jay Cutler Breaks Down Top Threats to Hadi Choopan’s Mr. Olympia Title in 2023
Cutler said people are forgetting about Choopan and the dominant package he brought to Vegas a few months ago. However, he expects Big Ramy, Derek Lunsford, and Samson Dauda to be viable threats to ‘The Persian Wolf’s’ title on the horizon.
“Hadi is going to be very difficult to beat. People forget quick man, you know,” said Jay Cutler. “You guys got to remember, he’s knocked at that door and he kicked that thing in. Not even – you know a better overall look, but not what he is capable of. Yeah, I think so too [he’ll be better]. I think Derek is going to be tremendously better and Samson peaked once already this year… it’s tough. And Nick Walker is even more hungry now.”
As someone who made a successful bodybuilding comeback, Cutler believes Ramy still has a shot at regaining his Mr. Olympia status. He added that Lunsford’s rear poses are some of his best and that it makes him an even more dangerous threat.
“Listen, I think Ramy can still come back and win this thing, you know. I mean, we forget about – where’s Brandon Curry fall in this? What if Brandon has time down and comes in. Remember, he was beating down the door for a couple of years straight.”
“Dude, Derek is very dangerous in that spot too. I mean, who’s going to beat him in the rear poses? Who’s going to be him in front double biceps. You think Samson can beat him in a front double? Derek has the lats and the small waist and that front double that’s just bananas,” Cutler shared. “He [Andrew Jacked] doesn’t have the lat taper that Derek has.”
Cutler on Men’s Open Changes: ‘We’re Falling Back Into That 90s Era’
Given how competitive the Men’s Open division has become, Cutler believes the category is starting to reflect the 90’s era of bodybuilding, which saw many aesthetic bodybuilders make their name in the sport, like Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, and Chris Cormier.
“I’m just thinking as you guys are conversing, and I think we should probably close it out on this because we talked a lot about the Arnold. We’re falling back into that 90s era of competitive [bodybuilding] – ‘oh this guy could be here,’ we’re still not talking about Hunter Labrada who I feel could be in the mix. I mean, these are people that we just – there’s a lot of excluded people that we’re still excited about. Is Sergio going to come back? Yeah. I mean, there’s so many guys.”
“We’re excited about an Open class which I think fell off for a minute because the old guard was coming out, going out, and now the new guard has come in and a lot of new guys are like solidifying position now. It’s making it exciting again.”
Cutler isn’t the only bodybuilder taking a closer look at how the Arnold Classic affected the division. Nick Walker joined Nick Trigili and Guy Cisternino recently to discuss judging and the controversial outcome in Ohio. Walker was under the impression that conditioning wins contests but stressed judges might be starting to favor shape and aesthetics more than size and conditioning.
With approximately eight months until the next Mr. Olympia contest, fans are excited to see who will push into title contention. As for Cutler, he’s happy to see the Men’s Open division thriving again like it was in the 90s.