Branch Warren’s Bold Assessment of 2023 Mr. Olympia: A Detailed Analysis

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In the electrifying aftermath of the 2023 Mr. Olympia, the bodybuilding community is buzzing with discussions, critiques, and projections for the future of the Men’s Open division.

Among the voices weighing in on this colossal event is none other than the seasoned bodybuilding veteran, Branch Warren.

In an exclusive interview with Dave Palumbo from RxMuscle, Branch Warren shared his candid thoughts on the competitors, their physiques, and his bold claim that his past physique could have clinched the title in 2023.

Branch Warren’s Storied Legacy

branch warren and johnnie jackson training
via branch warren instagram

Before delving into his assessment of the 2023 Olympia, it’s crucial to acknowledge Branch Warren’s indelible legacy in bodybuilding

A prominent figure in the 1990s and 2000s, Branch Warren carved a niche for himself with granite-like muscles and one of the most distinctive sets of quads in his generation.

Despite not securing the coveted Mr. Olympia title, Branch Warren’s prowess and resilience made him a revered athlete in the sport.

Assessing the 2023 Mr. Olympia

The Road to Glory of the 2024 Mr. Olympia
via mrolympiallc instagram

Branch Warren began his analysis by commending the conditioning of only two athletes at the 2023 Mr. OlympiaDerek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan.

According to Branch Warren, the rest of the competitors fell short, with a critical emphasis on being “soft.”

“Two guys in that show that were really in shape, and that was first and second place. I think Derek Lunsford was in good shape, and I think Hadi Choopan was in good shape. Beyond that, Samson Dauda was soft, and you just go down the line, everybody was soft.”

This candid assessment set the stage for Branch Warren’s bold assertion that had he presented the physique from his prime years, he would have emerged victorious.

“He has everything he just has to get his condition down. You know, I think the condition is a big factor. If I – that physique you just put on the screen there, I say I would have won.”

Branch Warren acknowledged the achievements of Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford but pointed out the challenge taller competitors like Samson Dauda and Andrew Jacked pose when they bring superior conditioning.

Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford both hit it perfectly. I said this in some interviews previously before the Olympia, they said, ‘What do you think?’ I said it’d be Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford unless the big guys are in shape. If Samson Dauda is off, Andrew Jacked, even Hunter Labrada, who is a big guy, if they are off, they are not 100%, and that leaves the door open for someone like Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford to win.”

Size Matters: A Reflection on Past Defeats

Derek Lunsford vs Hadi Choopan: A Controversial 2023 Mr. Olympia Battle
via mrolympiallc instagram

Drawing from his own experiences, Branch Warren emphasized the significance of size in bodybuilding

Reflecting on his loss in 2009 to Jay Cutler, Branch Warren acknowledged that while he was in better shape, Jay Cutler’s size and height played a decisive role.

“The reason I lost in 2009 was Jay Cutler was bigger. He was taller. Size matters, plain and simple. I’ve known that going into it, before then, and since then. Size matters.”

Regarding Nick Walker, Branch Warren refrained from speculating on his potential placement but refused to rule out the possibility of Nick Walker winning the show.

Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford the past years hit it perfectly. None of the bigger guys brought it. I think Nick Walker would have been the hardest one in the show. Going against the way Derek Lunsford looked this year, you never know; maybe Nick Walker would have shown up and showed us something we haven’t seen before and won the whole thing.”

Samson Dauda: A Mountain of Potential

samson dauda mr olympia
via samson dauda instagram

Branch Warren identified Samson Dauda as a formidable contender for the 2024 Mr. Olympia, emphasizing his colossal size and potential for dominance if he fine-tunes his conditioning.

“The guy is a mountain of a man. He’s huge. Almost 300 pounds on stage right? He’s gigantic. He’s in great shape for that size he’s still got a small waist, and all the body parts are there. If Samson Dauda gets hard, he beats everybody for years. Nobody can match him if he comes in ripped.”

Branch Warren speculated on adjustments to Samson Dauda’s nutrition plan, indicating that a tighter condition could make him unbeatable.

“I don’t know anything about his training and nutrition, but I would speculate he needs to make some adjustments to the nutrition plan to come in a little bit tighter.”

The Road to 2024: Predictions and Speculations

Looking ahead to the 2024 Mr. Olympia, Branch Warren labeled Samson Dauda as the top contender, acknowledging Derek Lunsford as the reigning champion but considering Samson Dauda the hottest prospect.

“He’s the hottest guy out there right now, I think. Derek Lunsford is the champ. He’s the hottest guy. He won the Arnold he got third at the Olympia. He is, in my opinion, the number one contender for the title next year.”

In a hypothetical 2024 Arnold Classic scenario involving Nick Walker, Hadi Choopan, and Samson Dauda, Branch Warren found it challenging to predict the outcome due to the distinct physiques of the competitors.

branch warren arm workout
via branch warren instagram

“Talk about apples and oranges and pears, you have three different physiques. I don’t know. Nick has won it before, Samson Dauda won it last year. I don’t know… everything being equal, Nick will probably be the hardest one at the contest with his conditioning, and you got Hadi. If Nick Walker comes in at his absolute best, I think he could win [2024 Arnold Classic].”

Controversies and Future Expectations

Branch Warren’s assessment of the 2023 Mr. Olympia didn’t come without controversy.

His claim that Derek Lunsford won “by the skin of his teeth” echoes sentiments from other fans and bodybuilding veterans who found the results debatable. 

As discussions continue, the focus now shifts to the upcoming 2024 Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio, with fans eager to witness the next chapter in the ever-evolving world of professional bodybuilding.

Fortunately, Arnold Schwarzenegger has added an exciting twist by revealing that the pay-per-view for the 2024 Arnold Classic will be free of charge, heightening anticipation for a showdown among the sport’s elite.

In conclusion, Branch Warren’s insights provide a compelling narrative for the future of Men’s Open bodybuilding.

His bold claims, reflections on past defeats, and projections for emerging talents like Samson Dauda add layers of intrigue to the ongoing dialogue within the bodybuilding community.

As the sport marches forward, the echoes of Branch Warren’s words will linger, influencing perspectives and fueling anticipation for the next epoch-defining moment on the competitive stage.

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