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Samson Dauda Reflects on His 2023 Arnold Classic Victory

“I did believe I could do it,” Dauda said when asked by James how he felt about his chances. “I think it was after the Olympia when I really started to believe I could win it.”

Dauda was sixth at the 2022 Olympia, which was won by Hadi Choopan. The favorite for the Arnold Classic in the eyes of many was Nick Walker, who finished in second place. Dauda felt that competing in a show three months later actually served him well because of the adjustments he made between the two shows.

“I’m always better the second time around. I knew I was going to be better enough to do it.”

That feeling was validated when Dauda came out in the first callout and was placed in the middle by head judge Steve Weinberger. Once Dauda assumed that spot, he didn’t want to give it up.

“I was like ‘no, please don’t move me anymore. I’m good right here,’” he said with a laugh.

After the victory, many fans and experts were comparing Dauda to eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney because of their similar shape and structure. Haney himself even acknowledged it, which Dauda thought was a big deal.

“You’re talking about an eight-time Mr. Olympia, someone you were watching win way before you even had a clue what bodybuilding was, and being like ‘wow, that is a crazy physique.’”


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