The most decorated Masters Olympia lineup in history hits Miami, Florida this weekend, with 32 of the best over-40 bodybuilders in the world ready to battle it out for $200,000 in prize money. We sat down with three future Hall of Famers – two-time and reigning Mr. Olympia Phil Heath, four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler and 11-time IFBB Champion Chris Cormier – to get their take on this weekend’s burning questions.
Q: True or False: Dexter Jackson is a lock to win the Master’s Olympia.
Jay Cutler (Muscular Development, BPI Sports) “True. I don’t forsee anyone that will challenge him. Especially after his momentum from the 2012 Olympia.”
Phil Heath (FLEX, MuscleTech) “True. It’s definitely Dexter’s show to lose.”
Chris Cormier (TeamRealdealTraining.com) “False. Dexter’s the front runner for sure, but it’s gonna be a way more competitive show than last year, that’s for sure. I don’t think Dexter will look better his weekend than he did this last Olympia, so I think it might be more competitive than some people think.”
2008 Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson is the clear-cut favorite to win the Masters Olympia
Q: If Dexter Jackson was not in this contest, who would be the favorite two win?
Cutler: “On paper, I think Toney [Freeman] on paper would be. Michael Kefalianos, he has the condition to win, but it would be between Toney and Johnnie [Jackson]. Just because Johnnie has the upper body thickness, even though he’s still a little light in the legs. Toney has the best overall shape of everyone in this lineup.”
Heath: “I would have to say Toney. Because he’s beaten all these guys before.”
Cormier: “I think Toney stands the best chance. He’s a master at being able to compete and travel multiple times in a year, he has his posing down – he knows exactly what he’s doing. The other one can be Dennis James – one show, big sponsorship so been resting from competition, he’s more rested than Toney and the other top guys.”
An in-shape Toney Freeman could pose the biggest threat to Dexter Jackson
Q: Dennis James hasn’t competed in over 2 years. Will that layoff help him or hurt him?
Cutler “It could go either way, but I think the biggest factor is that even in top shape, when he turns around, he just doesn’t have enough back there to stand next to a Johnnie Jackson. Dennis is a great bodybuilder from the front, but there are just too many variables how it’s gonna work out coming into this show. I think DJ will push some of those guys in the top spots, but I don’t think he beats a Toney or a Johnnie Jackson at this point.”
Heath “I think it can be an advantage. He’s stayed in decent shape, it’s not like he lost a lot of size during the time away. So from a muscle standpoint I don’t think he’ll lose a step. The question is, even though his body is rested, will he be able to get in the shape he needs to? He’s definitely going to have to in order to beat these guys. I think he will, because I don’t think he would do the show unless he knew in his heart that he could. Dennis is very smart, so one thing we know – he ain’t gonna put himself in a bad position.”
Cormier “It could help him, but when you’re talking about masters competitors and layoffs, sometimes it’s harder to hit the nail on the head. It can be something that works for him or against him.”
Dennis James will compete for the first time in over two years
Photo courtesy of Muscular Development
Q: Out of the guys you haven’t mentioned, which are the most likely to place in the top 3?
Cutler “Ed Nunn and Michael Kefalianos. Ed Nunn could have been higher than he was at a few of those fall shows. He was in a good shape at most of them. Plus he has great shape. Kefalianos has a lot of extreme body parts, just not a ton of balance.”
Heath “Ronny Rockel. Ronny could be the sleeper of the entire show. He pushed Dexter in Germany a couple years back. You can’t lose touch of the fact that Ronny normally competes against the best in the world – if he’s at his best, he can beat all of the guys here except Dexter.”
Cormier “Johnnie Jackson. Johnnie has more going on in his physique than anyone else but Dexter. He’s another one that has mastered his craft. He’s got a lot of years under his belt as far as figuring out how to hit that peak look for his physique. From the back, not many guys in this lineup are going to be able to stand next to him and that’s a huge advantage.”
Johnnie Jackson and Ronny Rockel should be fighting for spots in the top three – or higher
Q: True or False: If Ronnie Coleman was competing in this contest, he would place in the top three.
Cutler “False. I just can’t see Ronnie Coleman in the top five in this contest. What he looks like in a t-shirt and onstage are two different things. He can’t train his back anymore, and that’s a problem.”
Heath “Oh gosh! Ronnie is one of my idols, but as of right now … probably not. We’ve seen him big up top, but we haven’t seen the legs. It’s kind of hard to say. If he’s healthy absolutely. But that’s a big if.”
Cormier “False. These other guys have less damage to their bodies. He’s not gonna dominate from the back with these other guys in the show. He won’t have all those weapons in his arsenal that he’s used to. He’d place in the top five, just not in the top three.”
Ronnie Coleman, who hasn’t competed since 2007, could face an uphill battle against this Masters Olympia lineup
Photo courtesy of Muscular Development
BONUS QUESTION (For Cutler Only)
Q: You’re going to be 40 years old this year. On a scale of 1-10 – 10 being the most likely – what are the odds we will ever see Jay Cutler competing in a Master’s Olympia?
Cutler Zero. If I won the Mr. Olympia again, I still wouldn’t go do the Masters. It’s never about the money for me. It has zero to do with the money.
Jay Cutler doesn’t plan on stepping on a Masters Olympia stage anytime soon