When Johnnie Jackson came out of retirement in 2020, he made his return on the Arnold Classic stage with the help of coach George Farah. Unfortunately for Jackson, he missed his mark and didn’t look the way he wanted onstage in Columbus. He told Dennis James on the April 28th episode of The Menace Podcast that he relied too much on doing what his coach said, and it didn’t work in his favor.”

“It didn’t come out the way it should have. I didn’t come out the way I should have come out,” Jackson admitted. He rebounded by going solo for the Chicago Pro later that year, and the difference was night and day. While he didn’t win the contest, he did feel that he could walk off the stage with his head held high.

“I was definitely super proud of the way I came in. Yeah, I was so disappointed from the Arnold. I was like, ‘that’s not how I’m going to be remembered. This is how I’m going to be remembered as I am in this kind of condition.’”

Johnnie Jackson was ripped from top to bottom at that contest, and James expressed that you don’t see the kind of conditioning that Jackson displayed at his final contest. He responded by calling on other men’s open competitors to focus on improving because in his eyes, conditioning is more associated with the 212 division.

“A lot of open guys are dropping the ball and not showing up and condition like these 212 guys,” he told James. He actually went as far as to suggest that the 212 guys should do more open shows to put the pressure on the open competitors. Most notably, he wants to see 2020 Olympia 212 champion Shaun Clarida enter the men’s Open at the 2022 Olympia since he qualified by winning the 2021 Legion Sports Fest.

“I think it would be good for the open guys that have to compete against guys like that, you know, these 212 guys need to stop, you know, thinking they’re not big enough.”

Jackson and James also discuss other topics such as Jackson selling his gym business, how he didn’t want to get back into training for quite some time, and why he is still training as hard as he is in his 50’s. Go to the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel to see this and all of DJ’s interviews every week on TMP. Also follow @bigdjames and @themenacepodcast on Instagram.

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