Jay Cutler: Derek Lunsford Not Guaranteed to Beat Nick Walker at the 2023 Arnold Classic

Jay Cutler weighs in on the possibility of Derek Lunsford versus Nick Walker at the 2023 Arnold Classic.

Jay Cutler recently spoke on the possibility of Derek Lunsford competing against Nick Walker at the 2023 Arnold Classic. Cutler believes that Lunsford is not a shoe-in to win the show simply because he took second over Walker at the 2022 Olympia.

The current landscape for open weight bodybuilding has become quite intriguing. Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay has been knocked from his throne as the reigning Olympia champion. Hadi Choopan has now firmly cemented himself as the new king of bodybuilders. The whole division has been completely shaken up and turned on its head and the division is wide open for the taking. Choopan has the goods to continue to reign as Olympia champion, but he has some pretty tough competition in the coming year. Namely he’ll have to keep an eye on Nick Walker and Derek Lunsford.

Four-time Olympia champion Jay Cutler believes that the open weight division is getting very exciting to watch. With so many interesting shake ups at the 2022 Olympia, the division hasn’t been this intriguing in years. New stars like Nick Walker and Derek Lunsford are adding to the excitement, especially since both men placed in the top three at the Olympia. With the 2023 season now upon us, both Walker and Lunsford will once again clash at some point.

Derek Lunsford vs Nick Walker?

While it seems that he may be skipping the 2023 Arnold Classic, if Derek Lunsford does find himself at the show he’ll have to contend with Nick Walker who many believe is arguably just as, if not more impressive that the former 212 Olympia champion. In a recent episode of his podcast, Jay Cutler discussed Lunsford’s decision to potential skip the upcoming Arnold Classic.

“One person that didn’t jump in was Derek Lunsford, and people are questioning it,” said Jay Cutler. “Listen, if I could reverse back, if Jay Cutler was here in this position, I would have ran so quick to get ready for that show because I wasn’t taxed to train for Olympias if that makes sense.

“We both agree, he’s probably going to be improved in a few weeks. I understand Derek too, because he’s knocking at the door man, and if he wants to put all his eggs into Olympia, hey man, it’s his choice. He just collected $150,000.”

While he believes Derek Lunsford is very impressive, Jay Cutler also believes Nick Walker could do damage at the Arnold Classic.

Far from a Golden Era physique, Walker is the epitome of the modern bodybuilder. He believes that Walker’s combination of size and conditioning could pose a big problem from Lunsford who he believes is a bit limited structurally.

“I don’t know, I think he [Nick Walker] can improve on conditioning with that size. Right, it’s refinement now because he can’t really go any bigger necessarily. Maybe a little bit, but then he falls into what happened to all of us, we got bigger, too big. Ideally, for him, he just needs to come back, tighten up the backside so he’s more competitive with Derek there and Derek doesn’t distance himself from the back shots.

“That whole Mr. Olympia — it’s judged from the back, I mean, we proved this year that’s not the case,” added Cutler. “Derek is limited too. Derek can only get so big with his height and structure.”

Lunsford Win Not Guaranteed

Jay Cutler went on to explain that Derek Lunsford isn’t a guaranteed lock for an Arnold Classic victory. While he may have impressed the judges at the Olympia, Cutler believes that Nick Walker may have more upside. He believes this simply based on Walker’s status as the People’s Champ. That in it’s own right makes it likely that Walker is the favorite at the 2023 Arnold Classic.

“That’s the thing, is the [$300,000 Arnold prize] even guaranteed for Derek? No, it’s not,” said Jay Cutler. “People are going to agree to disagree, that’s why we get on here to talk. This is how I saw Olympia. Derek wowed the judges because it was such a surprise right, to see him with that fullness. I said this all along.”


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“Milos was here arguing, he said, ‘he’s flat, this and that,’ and we were like we haven’t seen him full yet. So, we saw him full, and the wow factor put him into second place. He deserved it. But Walker doesn’t think so. Walker thinks he had that spot. The question is: we’re over the wow factor of Derek, so full circle now, Nick and Derek square off at this Arnold Classic… who’s victorious?

“Remember, who’s the People’s Champ? Nick. You know what I love… bodybuilding is great again.”

Do you agree with Jay Cutler and his assessment of the Derek Lunsford versus Nick Walker at the 2023 Arnold Classic?

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News and Editorial Writer at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.

Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.