Ronnie Coleman is one of the greatest Men’s Open bodybuilders in history. He dominated the late ’90s and 2000s era and tied Lee Haney for the most Mr. Olympia titles ever with eight consecutive W’s. He’s known as “The King” for a reason, after all.
The legend recently hosted a Q&A on YouTube so fans could pepper him with whatever questions popped into their heads. And one of the questions that came through was if he thinks Derek Lunsford will win the 2023 Mr. Olympia title.
“Yes, I do,” Coleman responded confidently. The answer was short and sweet, but this isn’t the first time Coleman has gushed over Lunsford. In a recent workout video the two posted together, Coleman basically said the same thing, predicting that Lunsford has all the tools necessary to become champ. Watch the full Q&A with Coleman below:
The New Generation of Bodybuilding
In the past five years, four different competitors have won the Mr. Olympia title: Shawn Rhoden (2018), Brandon Curry (2019), Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay (2020, 2021), and Hadi Choopan (2022). That’s a far cry from the dynasties of the past three decades when competitors like Dorian Yates, Jay Cutler, Phil Heath, and Coleman held onto their crowns for years at a time.
“Bodybuilding is getting harder,” Lunsford said recently. “Every generation takes it to the next level.”
Choopan, the reigning Mr. Olympia, along with other mass monsters like Nick Walker and the 2023 Arnold Classic champion Samson Dauda make the Men’s Open division as competitive as it’s ever been. Maybe more so. And that means everyone has an opinion on who the next Mr. Olympia will be.
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Phil Heath, who has seven Mr. Olympia titles to his credit, also chimed in recently with his thoughts on the matter. While he agreed with Coleman that Lunsford is a name to watch, he believes that Choopan will retain his title, though he says Walker will also be in the mix.
Lunsford’s move from the 212 division to the Open division in 2022 paid off. He blew past many top contenders, including Big Ramy, Brandon Curry, Hunter Labrada, and Andrew Jacked. This year, he’s got the backing of an eight-time Mr. Olympia. The question is: Will he live up to The King’s high hopes and take home the 2023 Sandow trophy?
Featured Image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram