Dauda becomes the 20th bodybuilder to win an Arnold Classic title

Written by Vidur Saini

Samson Dauda drew the curtains on the Arnold Sports Festival, scheduled between Mar. 2-5 in Columbus, OH, with a convincing victory in the Men’s Open division.

The Arnold Classic Men’s Open is the second-most thrilling bodybuilding contest. The AC throne has switched hands every year since 2013, making it the most entertaining game of musical chairs. Dauda is the 11th new AC champ in the last 11 years.

The Arnold Classic is the second most prestigious bodybuilding event after Mr. Olympia. Joe Weider’s Olympia Weekend, however, won’t be what it is if it weren’t for the Arnold Classic. The AC winners are considered the primary challengers to the reigning Olympia champs. AC helps shape the Olympia.

Since the Arnold Classic is the first major bodybuilding show of the year and the year wraps up with the Olympia, the AC champ has roughly the same amount of time to prepare for the Olympia as the defending Mr. O champ. It adds to the show’s excitement, and the athletes use this as an opportunity to brew a healthy rivalry. Since the 2022 Arnold Classic champ Brandon Curry did not return to defend his title, it made the throne anyone’s for the talking, and “The Nigerian Lion” capitalized on it.

Dauda’s win at the 2023 AC makes him the 20th bodybuilder to win the Arnold Classic Men’s Open title. The Nigerian Lion’s victory at the AC earns him direct qualification for the 2023 Olympia and makes him $300,000 richer.

Nick Walker, Andrew Jacked, Samson Dauda, Big Ramy, and Shaun Clarida were considered the frontrunners for the 2023 AC. However, The Nigerian Lion separated himself from the pack from the moment he stepped on stage. Dauda’s full-muscle bellies and beautiful posing won him the 2023 AC.


2023 Arnold Classic Men Open Prejudging Top 3
2023 Arnold Classic Men Open Prejudging Top 3

Ramy surprised everyone with the package he brought to the Arnold Classic. His quads, lower back, and triceps were much better than the 2022 Olympia. The two-time Olympia champ looked so good that the Governator popped out his selfie camera to record the Egyptian pose.

Walker nailed his conditioning. The 2021 Arnold Classic champ has a freaky front size and shines when he turns his back toward the crowd. And as they say, bodybuilding shows are won from the back, making him a frontrunner to win the show.

Andrew Jacked’s conditioning improved by leaps and bounds at the 2023 AC than his package at the 2022 Olympia. His feathered quads, striated chest, and abs made him the frontrunner to win the show. Jacked has great posing skills and worked the crowd with each pose.

Dauda has big, round muscle bellies and one of the freakiest X-frames; he took no prisoners in the prejudging round. He has a flowing physique and knows how to show it off with his impeccable posing routine.

Bodybuilding fans were eager to see Clarida on the Arnold Classic Men’s Open stage, and he delivered. He showed up with his signature size and conditioning. “The Giant Killer’s” round muscle bellies and conditioning bring the freak factor.

Ramy, Samson, Walker, Jacked, and Clarida were in the first callout, making them the frontrunners to win the show. Each guy was so good you didn’t know who to look at during the mandatory poses.

The judges had Clarida and Ramy pose beside each other later in the pre-judging round, which was a sight to behold. Although Ramy was much bigger, Clarida gave the mass monster a run for his money with muscle fullness and conditioning.

Andrew Jacked, Samson, and Walker were in the final callout, making them the favorites to pick up the winner’s cheque. 


Andrew Jacked, Samson, Walker, and Big Ramy made the first callout in the confirmation round. Each bodybuilder pushed the other in every pose, and the judges made them work for a long time.

Clarida held his own on the 2023 AC stage against the mass monsters. He was diced to the bone and gave the big boys a run for their money. He took home fifth place, beating mass monsters like the two-time AC champ William Bonac and Akim Williams.

Staying true to his name, Big Ramy took up a lot of space on the 2023 AC stage. He was sharper than the prejudging round. Ramy put up a solid fight to enter the first callout in the confirmation round. When all was said and done, he ended up with a fourth-place finish.

Andrew Jacked was fuller from last night and was brimming with confidence on his Arnold Classic debut. He had the crowd behind him as he went down into a full split. Jacked finished third at the 2023 AC. Andrew Jacked also won the best poser award, making him $10,000 richer.

Andrew Jacked Best Poser Award
Andrew Jacked Best Poser Award

Walker is the polar opposite of his competitors. Unlike the other top five finishers at the 2023 AC, The Mutant doesn’t have a tiny waist and full and round muscle bellies. Walker establishes dominance over a roster with his sheer muscle mass and razor-sharp conditioning. In a behind-the-scenes interview, Walker said that his goal was to be ‘skinless’ for the AC, and he absolutely nailed this objective. However, he had to settle for a silver medal at the 2023 AC. Walker also won the Franco Columbu Most-Muscular award, earning him an additional $10,000. 

Nick Walker Most Muscular Award
Nick Walker Most Muscular Award

Dauda is the best poser in the IFBB Pro League Men’s Open division. He posed to every beat in his posing track, displaying his muscles in full glory. He improved his conditioning from the prejudging round, and that translated to a better performance in the individual posing round. His balanced, symmetrical, and beautiful physique helped him bring the hammer down on his competition and win his maiden Arnold Classic title.

Dauda’s win at the 2023 AC establishes him as Hadi Choopan’s biggest challenger for the Mr. Olympia throne at the 2023 Mr. O, scheduled for Nov. 2-5 in Orlando, FL.

Samson Dauda Win Arnold Classic
Samson Dauda

Bodybuilding fans can’t wait to see Choopan, Lunsford, Walker, and Dauda fight for the Sandow trophy when the Super Bowl of bodybuilding returns to the sunshine state in November.


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