Interview: Samson Dauda is Prepared to Defend His Arnold Classic Title

2023 Arnold Classic champion Samson Dauda is in the final stages of his preparation for the 2024 Arnold Classic, set for Mar. 1-2, 2024, in Columbus, OH. Dauda will attempt to become the first athlete to successfully defend the Arnold Classic title since Branch Warren did so in 2011 and 2012.

To do so, Dauda must defeat several of the IFBB Pro League’s best, including 2022 Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan, who placed one spot ahead of Dauda in the 2023 Olympia, won by Derek Lunsford.

Check out BarBend‘s exclusive interview with Dauda below:

[Related: How to Watch the 2024 Arnold Classic Competitions]

Speaking to BarBend, Dauda shared he was not only prepared for a rematch with Choopan in Columbus but is looking forward to it due to how smooth his prep has been.

I’m feeling really good. I’m excited. I’m getting goosebumps because I’m ready to get after it.

Dauda knows Choopan is not traveling to Columbus for second place. However, Dauda feels he’s done the necessary work and is ready for the judges’ comparisons.

I need to be the aggressor more than the actual defender (champion).

Most of the anticipation for the Arnold Classic in the Battelle Grand Ballroom has circled around Dauda versus Choopan. Still, several other contenders in the lineup seek to shock the bodybuilding world with an upset.

Although Dauda, a Celsius-sponsored athlete, has been focused on his prep, he hasn’t slept on the other contenders vying for his Arnold Classic throne. Two of the 10 other athletes on the roster, in particular, stand out to him.

“I have Rafael Brandao placing high at the show. He’s improved and added size,” Dauda tells BarBend. “Horse MD (Marcello De Angelis) is another. I competed against him last year and was impressed. Fans in the United States haven’t seen him yet, and they don’t know what they are in for when they see him.”

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A post shared by Samson Dauda (@samson__dauda)

Peaking for a single pro show in a year can be challenging enough, but the “Nigerian Lion” has been on an extended grind. Dauda competed in the 2023 Olympia in Nov. 2023, then won the 2023 Romania Muscle Fest Pro and 2023 Prague Pro shortly thereafter. That schedule did not offer Dauda much time to relax before diving into his 2024 Arnold Classic prep.

Dauda is scheduled to compete in the 2024 Arnold Classic UK contest on Mar. 15-17, 2024, in Birmingham, England, just two weeks after the main event in Columbus. Even with the grueling competition schedule, Dauda reports no ill effects and will be ready to present his best come showtime.

This prep has been great, Most preps have been hard, but I’ve been able to go through it smoothly. Everything has fallen into place nicely.

Dauda confirmed he will take a break from the competitive stage following the Birmingham contest to focus on the 2024 Olympia in Las Vegas, NV, on Oct. 10-13, 2024. Thanks to his top-three finish at the 2023 Olympia, Dauda has already qualified for the 2024 contest (in addition to his two aforementioned IFBB pro show wins since then).

Dauda didn’t have to enter the Arnold Classic this year. However, the opportunity to defend his title and potentially win the $300,000 first-place check was too good to pass up.

At the time of this article’s publication, Dauda is in Columbus, enduring the final stages of peak week prep with his coach, Milos Sarcev. Dauda Sarcev and his wife, whom he deems his “dream team,” for helping him achieve his best physique for the Arnold Classic stage.

“It’s great to be this comfortable because I’ve done this enough times,” expressed Dauda. “You get there, and it’s almost like being home. You already know what you have to do and not even think about it. That helps you to stay calm. Because there is no stress, you tend to look your best.”

All Dauda has to do is execute the game plan and relax. He expects to be relaxed enough to attend the expo at the Greater Columbus Convention Center to meet fans at the Celsius booth.

I’m definitely going to be there on Friday afternoon. Come by to meet me and see the team. It’s going to be a great time.

Prejudging for the Arnold Classic is on Friday, Mar. 1, 2024. The finals are set for Saturday, Mar. 2. Both rounds of the competition will be streamed live for free on the Arnold Sports Festival website.

Featured Image: @samson__dauda on Instagram 

The post Interview: Samson Dauda is Prepared to Defend His Arnold Classic Title appeared first on BarBend.


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