Cutler shared his thoughts on a tightly packed group of competitors.
At the time of writing, there is still so much to be clarified regarding the 2023 Mr. Olympia competition. Even a little over four months before the tentpole competition in bodybuilding, there’s undoubtedly plenty of competition behind the scenes. For Jay Cutler, four-time Mr. Olympia champion (2006-2007, 2009-2010), the bodybuilding legend likes to see what some of the fittest people on earth are brewing.
On June 23, 2023, in a recent episode of his podcast, Cutler broke down where he thinks the current men’s open division stands before the start of the 2023 Olympics in early November. To say the least, in a chat with his manager Matthew M. Daniels, the icon claimed he has a few household names in mind and doesn’t mince words about potential upstarts.
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While Cutler didn’t comment specifically on every major Mr. Olympia competitor—Nick Walker was mentioned in passing but didn’t elaborate—but for the most part he touched every corner of the men’s Open’s elite bodybuilders. Here are some of Cutler’s thoughts on the certainly-filled Mr. Olympia stage in Orlando, FL:
Michal “Križo” Križánek
Cutler was impressed with Michal Križánek’s recent progress but still felt he had not closed the gap on the other athletes enough.
“He [Križánek] “It looked so papery, especially in the torso,” Cutler said. “The weapons are some of the best in the business and it looks like he’s made progress and I think he’s even improved on his previous performances. But I don’t know if he has shrunk a bit to improve the condition. I still have the feeling that he will still have a hard time climbing the top spots  Olympia.”
Derek Lunsford and Samson Dauda
For some, Derek Lunsford is the next superstar in bodybuilding after his second place finish at the Mr. Olympia in 2022. Cutler seems to be one of those people. However, after a recent training session together, Cutler made sure to bring up 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) winner Samson Dauda as a possible Olympic champion in his own right.
“We just saw Derek [Lunsford] and Samson [Dauda]”Too,” Cutler said. “They trained together a few days ago and Derek is looking great which he has always done and Samson is looking great which he has been doing for the past few years. Obviously he’s the Arnold [Classic] Winner. The question is whether Derek would have done the Arnold [Classic]and we could talk more about it.”
Hadi Choopan and Brandon Curry
Cutler thinks two established titans, Hadi Choopan and Brandon Curry, have been somewhat overlooked in the popular discussion. For the reigning Olympic champion (Choopan) and 2019 winner (Curry), that could be a mistake.
“Controversial, Hadi [Choopan] I kind of yelled, ‘Don’t forget me,'” Cutler explained. “We’re also forgetting Brandon Curry.”
Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay
After Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay failed to “hatch a hat” in his Olympic title defense, rumors swirled that he might be taking a break from bodybuilding to recharge his batteries. Egypt’s Dynamo has quashed those talks, claiming it is “furiously” training for autumn’s Olympic redemption. Cutler believes this is the right mentality because:
- Elssbiay has no time to waste as he approaches his 40th year
- Cutler believes Elssbiay can still win Olympics at his best.
“Frame [Elssbiay] “It sounds like he’s going to come back and compete, which I’m full of,” Cutler said. “… The point is he [Elssbiay] He just needs to regroup and do what he does best and do his best. There is no real timetable for this. He’s 38, he can’t take a few years off. I heard that his health is really good. I heard his training is really great. He had some atrophy in his arms and triceps compared to years before. I think he admitted he lost some weight there. But he looked great  Arnold [Classic].”
Chinedu Obiekea aka “Andrew Jacked” and Hunter Labrada
A podium finisher at AC 2023, Andrew Jacked has already drawn up ambitious competition plans for the summer in a bid to qualify for the 2023 Olympics. Meanwhile, Hunter Labrada seeks his own Olympic redemption with a streamlined training regimen.
Cutler said he liked the duo’s talent but colored his comment like he needs to see more from both athletes.
“I’m hearing great things about Andrew [Jacked]”Too,” Cutler said. “The big showdown will be Texas [the 2023 Texas Pro]. There will be other people too. I know there are a lot of international shows, but the question is who won’t qualify there [in Texas]. These two guys [Andrew Jacked and Hunter Labrada] must be in the [Olympia] Lineup because that’s the people we’re talking about. The question is, can Andrew come and win  Olympia and shock the world?”
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More than most years, the 2023 Mr. Olympia resembles a relentless run of the gauntlet from which only a true champion of champions will emerge victorious. When an icon like Cutler professes this, such a competitive reality seems inevitable.
Featured image: @hadi_choopan on Instagram