Samson “The Nigerian Lion” Dauda might have shocked the bodybuilding world when he won the 2023 Arnold Classic (AC). However, in the aftermath, some icons have already tabbed the rising superstar as a top contender to watch for the 2023 Mr. Olympia. Dauda is undoubtedly aware of the hype, and he’s not shying away from it.
On Apr. 1, 2023, Dauda appeared in a video interview with RxMuscle. After discussing his mentality and what went into his 2023 AC victory performance, Dauda looked ahead to bodybuilding’s tentpole contest. This November in Orlando, FL, the athlete wants to win the 2023 Mr. Olympia and notch the legendary milestone.
A British native of Nigerian descent, Dauda seemed to beam with pride when reflecting on his AC win. Beforehand, the gravitas of the moment of being the first British man to win one of bodybuilding’s biggest competitions was not lost on him.
Dauda used it well as motivation.
“At one point [before the 2023 Arnold Classic], I was training with one of my friends, we stopped and talked, going, ‘What British guy has ever won the Arnold Classic before?’” Dauda said. “We ran through it and checked out names and stuff like that and actually no British bodybuilder has ever won it before. He says, ‘Damn, wouldn’t it be cool if you ended up being the first one?’ At that moment, it clicked on me, now that is a mantle to have. That will be amazing.It fired me up a bit.”
In the months ahead, Dauda understands he’s no longer underrated. Winning the AC put him on the map and put his career under an even larger microscope, as expectations will now be accordingly elevated.
The athlete seemed to relish in this new reality.
“Having now been the topic of conversation, it fired me up even more,” Dauda explained. “There’s this thing about pressure; they say pressure will either break pipes or make diamonds. I know for me, the more pressure I get, the more I push myself to live up to it. Now, we’re going into the  Olympia with the biggest expectations and pressure we’ve ever had. I’m already hungry.”
When the dust settles, this might be one of the best Men’s Open divisions in bodybuilding history. It’ll be a tall order for any number of competitors like defending champion Hadi Choopan, Derek Lunsford, Nick Walker, or Dauda to come out on top.
Dauda understands the challenge ahead. He knows there’s only one task left on his plate.
“With every step up, every expectation we climb above, the more I expect,” Dauda said. “For me, this is like, okay, we just won the Arnold [Classic], there ain’t nothing else. We got to go for the Olympia. We want that win. We want that Sandow [Trophy]. For me, this is my own expectation. We are winning the Olympia this year.”
Featured image: @samson_dauda on Instagram