Victor Martinez and the GI crew weigh in on the 2024 Arnold Classic lineup and share their predictions

This weekend holds the 2024 Arnold Classic, one of the most respected and biggest bodybuilding events of the year. That’s why this week on the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez analyzes the top athletes physiques and gives his predictions for who will win. Co-hosts Ehsan Farahi, Edwin Mejia, and Vlad Yudin also put their predictions into the ring.

The 2024 Arnold Classic is bringing in a truly competitive lineup across all divisions this year. The competition is particularly fierce in the Men’s Open division, with former Mr. Olympia champion Hadi Choopan arriving in America to compete for the first time at the Arnold Classic.

In addition to this, current Arnold Classic champion Samson Dauda is returning to earn a second victory. But other top-level talent cannot be underestimated with the likes of Rafael Brandao, Akim Williams, and James Hollingshead also all vying for the top spot.

With Victor Martinez’s expertise and experience landing more in the larger physique male categories – this week we focus on highlights and predictions for the Men’s Open and Classic Physique divisions specifically. Let’s jump in.

2024 Arnold Classic Men’s Open Predictions

The biggest clash at the 2024 Arnold Classic will likely be Hadi Choopan vs Samson Dauda. Hadi and Samson landed second and third place respectively at the 2023 Mr. Olympia. With only Derek Lunsford placing ahead of them, who will not be competing at the Arnold Classic, this leaves many to believe that Hadi or Samson are the shoe-ins for victory this weekend.

Beyond their placing at the 2023 Mr. Olympia, Samson Dauda was previously victorious at the 2023 Arnold Classic. And Hadi Choopan was, of course, the Mr. Olympia champion in 2022.

Victor Martinez believes that Samson Dauda can win again – but he also notes that this is Hadi Choopan’s first time competing at the Arnold Classic. With his pedigree of having just been a Mr. Olympia champion two years ago and also having just beat Samson less than a year ago at the 2023 Mr. Olympia – he can certainly earn a victory here.

However, Victor believes that Samson Dauda has such fullness to his physique – if he can bring in the conditioning he can possibly overtake Hadi Choopan at the this show. Victor also sees Samson as a future Mr. Olympia champion. The question is a matter of when he can make those final perfecting changes to his physique.

Below are the 2024 Arnold Classic Men’s Open predictions of each host:

Victor (no particular order)

  1. Hadi Choopan
  2. Samson Dauda
  3. Jon Delarosa
  4. Rafael Brandao
  5. Akim Williams

Ehsan Farahi

  1. Hadi Choopan
  2. Samson Dauda
  3. Mohamed Shaaban Elimbabi
  4. James Hollingshead
  5. Akim Williams

Edwin Mejia Jr.

  1. Hadi Choopan
  2. Samson Dauda
  3. Akim Williams
  4. Rafael Brandao
  5. James Hollingshead

What Happens To Hadi Choopan’s Future If He Loses The Arnold Classic?

Vlad Yudin poses the question – if Hadi Choopan loses the 2024 Arnold Classic, will this hurt his chances at victory for the Mr. Olympia later this year? Victor Martinez says that it depends on the nature of the physique we see on the Arnold Classic stage.

Certainly, if Hadi Choopan loses to Samson Dauda, it would lend towards the possibility of Samson defeating Hadi again this November at the Mr. Olympia. But it should be noted that Samson recently lost to Hadi less than a year ago. So if Samson were able to flip the script in that short amount of time – there’s no reason why Hadi Choopan can’t do the same during his prep the rest of this year.

However, if Hadi Choopan’s physique shows some sort of serious issue. Perhaps signs of a fading physique or an injury. Then this can certainly hurt his chances and be a warning sign of what is to come for him later this year at the Mr. Olympia.

Victor Martinez also notes that the psychology of losing can affect Hadi Choopan’s Mr. Olympia champions should he lose the this Arnold Classic. The mental impact of losing may hurt him and have him doubt his prep process. Alternatively, it may drive him to work even harder and come back with a vengeance.

Victor Martinez believes that Hadi Choopan has much more in the tank before he starts to fade towards retirement. So he fully expects Hadi to bring a masterful physique to both the Arnold Classic and the Mr. Olympia. Whether or not he wins depends on what kind of physique his competitors bring.


2024 Classic Physique Arnold Classic Predictions

Victor Martinez and the GI crew also discuss and preview the Classic Physique lineup for the Arnold Classic. A truly competitive competitor list, nearly all of the top athletes in the division are competing with exception of the reigning Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead.

That means that we will likely see something similar to the placings at the 2023 Olympia – with a few tweaks depending on how contest prep has gone.

Victor Martinez first brings attention to Breon Ansley. A former Classic Physique Olympia champion, it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen Breon land a major victor at either the Arnold Classic or the Olympia. But Victor does not want to count Breon out. He is still bringing a fantastic package every year. Perhaps this will be the one that pushes him back to champion status.

Ehsan Farahi highlights Urs Kalecinski, a Classic Physique pro bodybuilder that has been a true threat in the division for many years now. He has yet to earn an Arnold Classic or Olympia victory – but Ehsan believes that he will be the future champion for the division.

While many point towards Ramon Dino as the next heir to the Classic Physique Olympia title, Ehsan believes that Urs has Ramon beat when it comes to their frames. Ehsan sees Urs as having a wider, more ideal frame, which is more reminiscent to Chris Bumstead. With that in mind, Ehsan believes that if Urs can bring his package together to the next level, he can defeat Ramon at the Arnold Classic and beyond.

Below are the 2024 Classic Physique Arnold Classic predictions of each host:

Victor Martinez (in no particular order)

  1. Ramon Dino
  2. Urs Kalecinski
  3. Terrence Ruffin

Ehsan Farahi

  1. Urs Kalecinksi
  2. Ramon Dino
  3. Breon Ansley

Edwin Mejia Jr.

  1. Ramon Dino
  2. Breon Ansley
  3. Terrence Ruffin

Wrap Up

While discussing predictions for the 2024 Arnold Classic, Victor Maritnez makes an important note. He stresses that so much of success and failure on the bodybuilding stage can be affected by the last two days of prep before the competition.

So while social media physique updates and prior competitions can help us determine the likely top three or top five placings, a lot can change from now to when they step on stage this weekend. This is why Victor’s predictions are in no particular order.

With an incredible calibre of athletes competing this year – it will likely be a scrappy fight for first place in both the Classic Physique and the Men’s Open. We can’t wait to see it and to find out whether or not any of these predictions come to fruition.

You can watch the full episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. And don’t forget to check back every week for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.