Who Will Claim the 2013 Arnold Classic Title?

Team AMI/Weider experts Dennis James, Chad Nicholls, and Fakhri Mubarak give us their take on whom to watch and who might surprise us all before the night is over at the 2013 Arnold Classic.

Who Will Claim the 2013 Arnold Classic Title?

Dexter Jackson

ARNOLD CLASSIC HISTORY 1999, 7th; 2000, 5th; 2001, 5th; 2002, 3rd; 2003, 4th; 2004, 3rd; 2005–2006, 1st; 2007, 2nd; 2008, 1st; 2010, 4th; 2011, 5th; 2012, 5th

JAMES: Everybody is saying that this is Dexter’s show to lose, but I’m not so sure. He’s going up against two extremely great physiques in Toney and Cedric. If those guys bring it, they present a lot of problems with their size, shape, and symmetry. Dexter looked very good at the Masters Olympia and before that, at the Mr. Olympia. But was that his best or close to his best? He was the best I’ve seen him in the past couple of years, but I’ve seen Dexter better. Dexter built his career being “on” at every single show. But the past couple of years he’s been off. So compared with when he was off, he’s shown improvement and the judges rewarded him for that. Dexter is the highest-ranking competitor in the lineup and, being a three-time champion not to mention a former Mr. Olympia, he doesn’t need to do anything but be Dexter Jackson. Everyone is chasing him.

MUBARAK: Dexter is coming off his best performance since he won the Mr. Olympia in 2008. When I saw him in Miami for the Masters I was very much impressed. I actually saw him backstage, and I knew he was on. If Dexter comes in at 90% of that for the Arnold, he will win his fourth Arnold and tie Flex Wheeler. Dexter has little bones, big muscle bellies, great symmetry, and muscularity.

NICHOLLS: The odds-on favorite for the top spot. Dexter made a great comeback during the 2012 season, yet the question still remains: Does Dexter have enough in the tank for one more big show only a couple of months after his incredible Masters Olympia win? It has become commonplace to see Dexter have a rocky start at the beginning of a season only to gain momentum and dazzle us come Olympia time. It took him some time, but Dexter figured out that what worked for him in his 20s and 30s couldn’t carry him through his 40s. Although Dexter appears to have found his stride and has made the adjustments to dieting harder and doing extra work, how many times in a row can his body handle a more severe diet and training regimen? I think we are seeing a Dexter who is showing us he is still at the top of his game and that he’s finding his niche. This year’s Arnold will be a great test for Dexter, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the stage.