Bodybuilding legend Jay Cutler took part in a recent Cutler Cast podcast to break down the nearing 2023 Arnold Classic, scheduled for March 2-5 in Columbus, Ohio. During the video, Cutler discussed Shaun Clarida competing as an Open competitor and the consistency of Nick Walker.
Following the conclusion of 2022 Olympia, where Hadi Choopan claimed gold, the sport’s attention shifted to the Arnold Classic. The organizers increased the prize money, prompting a number of high-profile names to jump into the competition. Among them were Nick Walker, Andrew Jacked, Patrick Moore, and Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay.
Shaun Clarida, who was on the original competitors list, is once again testing his potential as an Open class bodybuilder. He is a two-time 212 Olympia champion and will battle his teammate Walker next month. In addition to those above, he’ll face Samson Dauda, William Bonac, Justin Rodriguez, Akim Williams, and Kamal Elgargni.
Having reflected on the lineup, Jay Cutler labeled Nick Walker as the clear favorite. However, he refused to count out Big Ramy and stated the former Mr. Olympia could win the Arnold if he comes into the contest at 100%. Cutler sat down again with the show approaching to provide his take on some of the frontrunners ahead of the 35th annual Arnold Classic.
Jay Cutler Talks 212 Crossovers and Shaun Clarida Competing in the Open
Jay acknowledged that 212 bodybuilders have fared well in the Open class as of late.
“Flex Lewis was the most winningest 212 – I mean he started at 202 I think but, like when you have a Clarida stepping up, and I know Kamal is in this story book too. You’re now seeing the crossovers. Hadi. Hadi has become Mr. Olympia after being in 212. William Bonac became second, he was in 212. Will there ever be established the greatest shorter bodybuilder. We can argue Lee Priest, we can argue Franco Columbo,” says Jay Cutler.
Given the prestige of the competition, Cutler, a three-time Arnold Classic winner, believes Shaun finishing in the top five would be a major achievement.
“Does it put Clarida in a different category if he comes in and places in the top five… no one has ever stepped to that level in the Open. Jose [Raymond] competed but I’m saying Arnold Classic position besides – I mean, Hadi never even stepped on the stage.”
“Not Arnold Ohio dude, it’s the GOAT show right. I mean, you win that, I think USA Arnold Classic – it’s the real deal. I mean, Andrew Jacked could be that one.”
Cutler said Clarida has the ‘x-factor’ heading into the show and added that the buildup for November’s 2023 Mr. Olympia contest could be tremendous.
“I called him the x-factor, and I think he took that as ‘wow,’ because we don’t know. I said to him, ‘you’re making it very difficult for us by coming into this contest,’ because you can kind of predict it. But I’ve seen pictures of Akim [Williams] and he looks pretty decent. I mean, Justin Rodriguez looks really good,” added Cutler.
“This build up for Olympia in 2023 could be tremendous. We still have some new bodies coming in. Carlos Thomas Jr. is coming in. He’s doing the New York Pro. You still have Krizo, do we have this Good Vito guy coming in,” Cutler said.
Jay Cutler Backs Nick Walker at 2023 Arnold Classic: ‘We Know What Nick Brings, Consistency.’
During his podcast, Cutler reaffirmed that Nick should win in Ohio, but “anything is possible.”
“Listen, anything is possible. I said Ramy couldn’t lose at this Olympia and he was fifth. You know, listen, if I had confidence and I wanted to lay out the bets, I just bet on the super bowl and lost quite a bit of money. No, I’m not going to say – but yes, anything is possible. I did hear from him yesterday.I said, ‘just focus, and do what you do.’ He’s just dialing in the conditioning right now, which looking at the pictures, he’s very well conditioned. I think we kind of know. It’s kind of like what we know to expect from him. We don’t know with Andrew, we don’t know with Ramy, and we don’t know with Samson. Clarida, we just don’t know how he’ll look standing in the middle of these guys but we know he’s coming razor,” Cutler said.
“But we know what Nick is going to bring man. The consistency,” said Cutler. “Nick just needed to ride, that’s it. Nick was on cruise control, there’s not much more, like, ‘oh he’s missing this or missing that,’ can he improve? Yeah! They keep saying his v-taper is getting better this and that but you don’t know until you dial down. I saw pictures of him, listen, I know he’s going to look dramatically different come the day of the show.”