The 2024 Arnold Classic is fast approaching, prompting bodybuilding veteran Samir Bannout to discuss some of the most dangerous frontrunners. In a recent YouTube video, Bannout previews the upcoming showdown between former Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan and reigning AC champ, Samson Dauda.
All eyes have shifted to bodybuilding’s next massive competition, which happens to be the Arnold Sports Festival of 2024. Hosted by former seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger, the gathering is easily the second-most anticipated event of the year.
Last year, the prize money for the Arnold Classic Men’s Open was boosted to $300,000, rivaling that of the Men’s Open Mr. Olympia winner. During the 2023 event, Samson Dauda emerged with the big win following a battle with mass monster Nick “The Mutant” Walker.
However, “The Nigerian Lion” will have his hands full in Columbus, Ohio in just a few months. It was revealed on last week’s official AC roster that former Mr. Olympia (2022) Hadi Choopan would be participating in his first Arnold Classic, aiming to wipe the taste of defeat out of his mouth from Orlando, Florida. The latest to open up on the impending showdown was Samir Bannout, who took a closer look at both men’s chances heading into March.
Samir Bannout Talks Samson Dauda, Hadi Choopan, and Andrew Jacked Set to Battle at 2024 Arnold Classic
First, Bannout explains that it wouldn’t be too risky for Andrew Jacked to compete at Ohio’s Arnold Classic in addition to the Arnold Classic UK a few weeks later.
“I think Andrew should do both if they are within two weeks. I’m thinking if Andrew competes at that one and two weeks later he goes to the UK it’d be fine. It wouldn’t be too risky. It wouldn’t put too much pressure on the body. You peak and you re-peak, which is very simple.”
According to the former Mr. Olympia from 1983, Samson Dauda and Hadi Choopan are frontrunners heading into the major contest.
“Samson, oh yeah, man. Yeah. Samson is always a frontrunner man, in my book. He is so dangerous. So damn dangerous. And Hadi wants to redeem himself here, he smells blood, Hadi.”
“To be honest, half the world felt Hadi could have won the Olympia and really I’m one of the guys who felt, the Olympia could have gone either way. Really, it could have gone either way. I was right there.”
Given how close Choopan was to winning a second Mr. Olympia against his teammate Derek Lunsford, Bannout underlined that he is entering the Arnold Classic with a chip on his shoulder though he refused to discount the danger factor that Dauda represents, thanks to his overall shape and structure.
“If he actually won the Olympia it would have been acceptable too. Not to say it was a walk in the park but it seems like he’s going to be the main frontrunner at that Arnold Classic depending on what Samson does.”
“If Samson comes in onion-skinned shredded, he’ll be very very very dangerous, as always.”
Looking ahead, Samir Bannout labeled ‘dangerous’ Samson Dauda as a possible 2024 Mr. Olympia winner. He specified that should Andrew Jacked and Hadi Choopan choose not to compete, it would be an easy win for Dauda.
“He could [win it two years in a row] but it’s going to be much tougher having Hadi, like I said, he wants revenge. He wants revenge. He hated that loss at the Olympia.”
“Samson would win easily if Hadi and Andrew Jacked don’t show up. But, I know, I know Hadi is going for sure,” said Samir Bannout.
While fans had hoped to see Nick Walker back on stage for the 2024 Arnold Classic, the Open star shot down the notion recently during a YouTube video. Having pulled out of the 2023 Olympia due to a hamstring and calf tear, fans look forward to seeing what’s next for Walker, who took second place at the 2023 Arnold Classic against Dauda last year.
Meanwhile, Andrew Jacked finished third at the 2023 AC and took fifth in his sophomore Olympia appearance in November. He will also join the roster of threats aiming to cement themselves as the next Arnold Classic champion. As for Samir Bannout, he is confident the final call-out will see a huge battle between Choopan and Dauda to determine who walks away with gold.