Walker doesn’t think highly of defending champion Hadi Choopan’s chances for a repeat.
There are still months to go before the 2023 Mr. Olympia in Orlando, FL, but some of the top contenders for the Sandow Trophy are already posturing for their title chances. The 2022 Mr. Olympia third-place finisher Nick Walker recently shared an interesting outlook on the next edition of bodybuilding’s headline contest.
During the Apr. 17, 2023, YouTube episode of The Mutant And The Mouth, Walker discussed the 2023 Mr. Olympia outlook with his co-host Guy Cisternino. Not only did the superstar Walker express doubt in defending champion Hadi Choopan’s chances at a repeat, he painted Derek Lunsford as the athlete to beat in the Men’s Open division.
To explain his rationale and confidence in his chances for the 2023 Olympia, Walker broke down part of the aftermath of the 2022 iteration. Even though he had shortcomings, Walker expressed he believes that Choopan and Lunsford finished at the top because they were ultimately comparable in their respective body compositions.
“I think I have a shot of winning any show that I do,” Walker said. “For the  Olympia, I mean, the two people that were in front of me were Hadi [Choopan] and Derek [Lunsford], and I think they are very comparable. I think that’s why they were one and two.”
For Choopan, at least, this was where the endorsements from Walker ended.
While he respects his peer’s accomplishments, experience, and pedigree, Walker shared a rather frank assessment of Choopan adding another Olympia trophy to his mantel. Even though Choopan finished ahead of Walker and the entire field of competitors at the 2022 Olympia, he doesn’t believe he’ll be a repeat factor in November. That’s because Walker noted that he and Lunsford could be headed for a great battle.
It could be the start of a competitive, back-and-forth rivalry in the modern Men’s Open division.
“Listen, I love Hadi [Choopan] but I don’t see him repeating in my opinion,” Walker said. “And Derek … he could continue to beat me now that he has a full off-season actually to put the work in and put size on now, so we’ll see … People don’t understand, Derek [Lunsford] is not small by any means. Like, he’s a big guy and he’s got great shape.”
Walker might profess that the 2023 Olympia will come down to him and Lunsford, an opinion seven-time Mr. Olympia champion (2011-2017) Phil Heath mostly shares. However, other bodybuilding icons like Jay Cutler and Miloš Šarčev disagree. While they don’t doubt Walker or Lunsford’s individual merits, the pair have talked up Samson Dauda — the 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) winner — and his shot at a first Mr. Olympia victory. Dauda himself has similarly bought into his rising hype.
At this point in the competitive calendar, the only assertion that seems clear is that the 2023 Mr. Olympia could shape up to be an all-out battle royale on stage.
Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram