Nick Walker‘s brutally honest personality was on full display during a recent interview. In an HD Muscle YouTube video, Walker revealed his top five for 2023 Mr. Olympia and examined contenders expected to compete this November.
“Everyone is just getting better, that’s just the reality. The newcomers are getting better and better and the older guys are going out. The young kids are coming up,” said Nick Walker.
The Men’s Open division’s popularity is at an all-time high following the last two major bodybuilding shows. Last year’s Mr. Olympia contest was filled with twists, turns, and unexpected surprises as Hadi Choopan claimed gold in a memorable affair. However, the former two-time champ, Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay‘s night did not go as planned. He was sidelined for most of prejudging and was eventually awarded fifth place.
Nick Walker, on the other hand, improved on the Mr. Olympia stage once again in third with 212-turned-Open talent Derek Lunsford securing runner-up. Instead of using the time to rebound, Walker jumped back into the 2023 Arnold Classic on short notice. He faced Samson Dauda and Andrew Jacked in Columbus, Ohio, — two names he already defeated on the Olympia stage.
In the end, Samson Dauda’s shape, symmetry, proportions, and conditioning proved to be a winning combination. And while he bested Walker on that night, ‘The Mutant’ isn’t convinced Samson will contend for gold at this year’s Mr. Olympia. In a Mutant and the Mouth Podcast, Walker said it would either be himself or Lunsford accepting the first-place trophy.
With less than five months until the biggest bodybuilding show on the calendar, preparations are heating up for everyone, including Walker. Before capping off his brief off-season, the 28-year-old picked apart some of the top names he intends to face in the coming months.
Nick Walker’s Top 5 for 2023 Mr. Olympia, Talks Hunter Labrada’s Path to Redemption, Samson Dauda & Big Ramy
Walker believes the 2023 Mr. Olympia top five will feature himself, Hadi Choopan, Derek Lunsford, Samson Dauda, and Hunter Labrada. Similar to Labrada, Walker says Samson’s weakest body part is his back.
“To be honest, I think it will be me, Hadi, Derek, I think Samson will jump into the top five, it’s four right there right? And I’m going to throw one out there, I think Hunter is going to get a spot back,” said Walker. “Well, okay, if we’re going to talk facts, Samson’s got a shit back too. I don’t know. Neither is Samson’s [back 3D]. Samson’s is flat as a board. There’s nothing going on there. From the front Samson is a monster but he turns around, wait what happened?”
In Walker’s opinion, Big Ramy is done. However, he mentioned that he’s still young enough to take time off and return with improvements.
“I think Ramy is done. I think Ramy is done,” said Walker. I do know Ramy, he’s done. Oh my God, he’s the sweetest guy.”
“I don’t think he’s done but he needs the year off to refocus, do some shit, and then come back. He’s still not young young, but he’s still young enough where he can make some changes.”
Nick predicts Labrada will have to win a battle against rookie Justin Shier to earn his spot on the Olympia stage.
“It is [Hunter’s weak spot is his back] but I think Hunter is hungry. [He was] devastated [after last year]. He knows what he needs to do. Do I think it’s going to be a while before his back catches up? Sure. But do I think it looks a lot better already? Yeah. So if he wins, which he probably will… he’s got plenty of time to keep making improvements.”
“I think that will be a battle [at Chicago Pro]. If Hunter can peak right and obviously we all know Matt doesn’t miss – so Justin [Shier] will be peaked. That’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be tough. I think Hunter overall is a little overwhelming than Justin. He’s a little wider and bigger but Justin’s can just hang, if Justin is a little better conditioned and peaked right, I think he can take out Hunter.”
“I’ll use Chris Bumstead as an example, one year he had no back, the following year he had the best back in Classic. That was one year. All it takes is hard work.”
Andrew Jacked Top 5? Walker says NO.
When asked about Andrew Jacked, Walker doesn’t believe he’ll outshine Samson Dauda or place in the top five this November.
“No [Andrew Jacked won’t make top five at 2023 Olympia]. No way [he beats Samson Dauda]. No. No. No. I have Samson, I have him in the top 6-8 spot,” added Walker.
As for Michal Krizo, Walker admits he’s big but doesn’t see him doing better than 10th. He added that Hadi didn’t win soundly last year so he doesn’t see him as a dominant titleholder like Phil Heath was.
“No [not a fan of his]. No, he’s big. He’s a big boy. But no. I see him maybe 10th. Maybe,” Walker said. “I think, listen, Hadi is great but just in my opinion, he’s a one-hit-wonder. He wasn’t like a Phil Heath where he won and you’re like, ‘Oh shit.’ I didn’t feel that with him, you know. With the competition now, even if I win, I don’t think it’s guaranteed I win again.”
Walker Casts Doubt on Blessing Awodibu & Regan Grimes This Year
According to Walker, until Awodibu brings up his legs, he will remain in the third call-out at Olympia. In addition, he doubted Regan Grimes’ potential and said he doesn’t think he ‘has the heart’ for bodybuilding.
“Blessing needs to get some legs before he talks shit,” said Walker. “I love Blessing but I think… Blessing just has – he’s afraid to ask for help. It’s like – I tried to help him, I’ve had friends try to give him advice, but Blessing is like ‘I don’t want advice.’ Alright, well that’s why you’re in the third call-out. And he was in the third call-out.”
“Regan, listen, he’s a nice guy. He should stick to the IG stuff. Listen, I just don’t think he has the mindset. Now that I’m around him a lot, I don’t think he has the heart. I don’t think he has the consistency. Bodybuilding is I’d say 100% mindset, yes. If your mind is not in this you will fail. He doesn’t look any different to me. He doesn’t, I’m sorry but he doesn’t. Yeah [it’s a mental thing] of course. I think he wants to but he’s just always distracted by other shit. Unfortunately, if you want to be at the top you unfortunately have to cut everything off. You have to be all in,”
After wrapping up his discussion on the Open class, Walker shared that Phil Heath won’t be coming back. When asked why, he pointed to monetary reasons.
“No, no. They [Masters Olympia] ain’t paying enough for him to come back,” Walker shared.
With contest schedules intensifying, plenty of top names have offered their take on who will become the next Mr. O. William Bonac, a two-time Arnold Classic titleholder, is convinced Choopan will repeat as champion later this year. Yet, former eight-time Olympia winner Ronnie Coleman doesn’t agree. He recently stated that Derek Lunsford will overthrow Choopan to become the next Mr. Olympia.
Samson Dauda has been open about his game plan for his sophomore Olympia appearance. He and his trainer Milos Sarcev agree that his only path to victory against Lunsford and Choopan is by bringing a more complete back. With that in mind, Dauda believes once his back is on par with the rest of his physique, the title will be his.
Given that Nick Walker has yet to slip on the Mr. Olympia stage, it’s hard to imagine he won’t showcase improvements in November. With how close last year’s show was, fans look forward to seeing who becomes the 18th man in history to win a Sandow trophy.