Victor Martinez breaks down the 2023 Mr. Olympia competition with his predictions and analysis – and reacts to Nick Walker’s hamstring injury

The 2023 Mr. Olympia competition is just around the corner, and the bodybuilding world is buzzing with excitement. That’s why in our recent episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez, Edwin Mejia Jr., and Vlad Yudin focus on preview and predictions for the 2023 Mr. Olympia weekend. Despite major dropouts due to various health and visa issues, there are still many powerful competitors ready to take the throne. Who does Victor think will take the Sandow? Let’s find out.

Victor Martinez is no stranger to the Mr. Olympia competition. He’s a season veteran who almost earned his own Sandow trophy in 2007 when he faced off against Jay Cutler. That battle was so close, fans today still find the results controversial.

Though Victor Martinez does not compete anymore, he remains passionate about the sport – training competitors as well as following the new era of athletes. That’s why Victor called in (while still on tour with Busta Rhymes) to break down his thoughts, opinions, and predictions ahead of this weekend’s 2023 Mr. Olympia. Let’s jump into it.

Men’s Open Division

The Men’s Open division at the 2023 Mr. Olympia has seen several notable athletes dropping out due to visa issues and health concerns, including most recently the shocking announcement that Nick Walker will no longer compete due to a hamstring injury. Despite these setbacks, Victor Martinez remains optimistic about the competition. There are still very impressive competitors ready to earn their place in the Mr. Olympia hall of champions.

Victor believes that Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford are still strong contenders and very well may likely be the top 2 again this year. This is alongside other promising athletes including Andrew Jacked and Samson Dauda – two relative newcomers who have garnered a lot of hype over the past two years.

Victor favors Andrew Jacked for higher placing over Dauda due to his denser and more aesthetic physique. However, Dauda’s recent victory at the Arnold Classic may give him the momentum and the edge.

Victor Martinez also gives a shoutout to Brandon Curry – who has been flying under the radar. The once former Mr. Olympia champion dropped down in placings in recent years – but recent physique photos suggest that he has made significant improvements, and Victor hopes to see him redeem himself and secure a top-three spot.

Victor’s Predictions for Men’s Open Division

Victor’s top 5 picks for the Men’s Open division, in no particular order, are:

  1. Hadi Choopan
  2. Derek Lunsford
  3. Samson Dauda
  4. Andrew Jacked
  5. Brandon Curry

In contrast, Victor expresses a more reserved outlook for Regan Grimes, stating that he “just looks ok” and doesn’t expect a top-5 placement. After some false starts, Grimes recently qualified for the Mr. Olympia and gained some public opinion momentum after showcasing his physique in Italy. Despite this, Victor does not believe he has the quality to land in the top 5 this year.

Michal Krizo is another wildcard who might secure a top-5 spot, but his success depends on his conditioning compared to the previous year. With only one year in the IFBB Pro league under his belt, it remains to be seen what kind of consistency, or improvements, we can expect from this massive competitor.

RELATED: Check out our official preview of the 2023 Mr. Olympia Men’s Open division

Nick Walker’s Future After Injury

Regarding Nick Walker’s future in the sport, Victor Martinez acknowledges that there is some uncertainty surrounding his hamstring injury. Depending on the significance of Walker’s hamstring tear – this can possibly impact his ability to compete in the next two years.

This raises the question, will this injury derail Nick Walker’s future at the Mr. Olympia. With his massive physique and incredible conditioning – many pegged Walker to be a shoe-in for the Mr. Olympia title at some point in the future. Can this injury throw his chances off course?

Despite not knowing how sever the hamstring tear is, Victor Martinez believes that this will simply be a hurdle for Nick Walker. Given Walker’s youthful age of 29 and his evident genetic potential in terms of size, symmetry, and conditioning, Victor believes that this setback is unlikely to mark the end of Walker’s promising career nor prevent him from winning a future Mr. Olympia.

Victor also uses this as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of caution during the final weeks leading up to major competitions like the Mr. Olympia. While the desire to push harder can be strong as the competition date draws near, it is crucial to work smart rather than hard and avoid potential injuries that might jeopardize one’s shot at victory.

Classic Physique Division

Transitioning to other divisions, the Victor Martinez offers some brief insights into the Classic Physique division, where Chris Bumstead remains the man to beat. Victor mentions that Ramon Dino stands out as a potential contender, but he needs to elevate his on-stage presence and assertiveness. Or as Victor put it, “Stop playing so nice.” Edwin and Vlad agree, with Vlad even going as far as predicting that Bumstead is likely to continue his championship reign for the next year as well.

Victor Martinez also sees the Classic Physique division as one of the most buzzworthy divisions of the IFBB Pro league, hinting that it might even become the top division at the Olympia in the future. Currently, Chris Bumstead has more crossover fame than the past few Mr. Olympia Men’s Open champions.

RELATED: Check out our in-depth preview of the Classic Physique 2023 Olympia competition

Men’s 212 Division

In the Men’s 212 division, Shaun Clarida stands out as the dominant force, according to Victor Martinez. He firmly believes that Clarida will continue to be the champion for years to come, given his impressive physique and consistent performance.

While there are many other impressive competitors in this division – none have reached the level that Shaun Clarida is currently operating at. Due to this, it’s nearly a one-man show. Victor can’t see any other outcome other than Clarida’s victory. In fact, Victor believes that Clarida will be champion for many years to come.

RELATED: Check out our complete preview of the Men’s 212 division at the 2023 Mr. Olympia

Men’s Physique Division

Finally, the Men’s Physique division is teeming with high-profile competitors vying for the top spot, including the anticipated return of Jeremy Buendia.

And while there are many other threatening athletes vying for the crown such as Erin Banks – Jeremy Buendia’s comeback provides some of the biggest interest in this division. After several years away from the stage, Jeremy Buendia’s return adds an element of unpredictability to the competition. Victor believes that Buendia will aim to make a statement and gain the judges’ attention.

Yet, it remains to be seen if he can adapt to the evolving physiques of the today’s new era of competitors compared to the last time Jeremy Buendia was on stage. He will be a wildcard in this division to be sure.

RELATED: Check out our preview breakdown of the Men’s Physique division at the 2023 Mr. Olympia

Wrap up

The 2023 Mr. Olympia promises to be a thrilling event, featuring a mix of seasoned champions, emerging talents, and compelling narratives. Fans of bodybuilding will eagerly await the competition to witness how these predictions and prospects unfold on the grand stage.

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.