As the 212 Olympia champion in 2021 and the 2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up, Derek Lunsford doesn’t necessarily need endorsements from anyone on the outside looking in. He’s a bona fide modern superstar and seems destined for a prolific bodybuilding career. That said, if there were a person to talk Lunsford’s talents up, there probably isn’t a better pick than eight-time Mr. Olympia champion (1998-2005) Ronnie Coleman.
On June 5, 2023, Coleman posted a video to his YouTube channel where he called Lunsford his “favorite bodybuilder” of this currently stacked generation. (Note: Coleman maintained that he also appreciated the exploits of 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) winner Samson Dauda.) Coming from a legend like Coleman, it’s quite the shining qualifier for Lunsford, especially after the pair’s shared training session in early April 2023.
Coleman didn’t mince his words endorsing both Lunsford and Dauda. While discussing the state of the sport, he dove right into his appreciation for the two high-profile fitness stars.
“My favorite bodybuilder at the moment, let’s see, hmm, Derek Lunsford is probably my No. 1 favorite,” Coleman mused. “Probably my No. 2 favorite … I kind of like that guy that won the last  Arnold Classic, his name is Samson Dauda. If I had to pick any favorite, it’d be [one of] those two.”
As for Coleman’s reflection on bodybuilding as a whole, especially where the Men’s Open class stands, the icon thinks the sport is in a healthy place when it comes to training, nutrition, and dedication to their craft. Given some of the athletes’ staggering physiques on display while guest posing at the recent 2023 Pittsburgh Pro, Coleman’s wide-spanning assessment certainly appears to be on the mark.
“I see every generation has its own era,” Coleman began. “Mostly, all of us have to work extremely hard and diet extremely hard and make the biggest sacrifices ever. So, I think that the next generation of bodybuilders is a pretty good class of guys. They work extremely hard. They train hard. They diet hard. I think the new generation is a pretty good generation.”
Finally, after some health scares over the past year, Coleman turned his attention to himself. The retired legend maintained he’s on the upswing and appears to be progressing well after all the surgeries he’s had on his neck and back over the years.
“I’m doing pretty good,” Coleman said. “I’m in great health and my last check-up was back in March . I had a really good, clean bill of health as far as my last check-up goes. Now, I have another one, probably in a couple of months. So, we’ll see how that goes. But for now, I’m doing pretty good.”
Even in his deserved retirement, Coleman remains a significant and influential voice in bodybuilding. Whether athletes like Lunsford and Dauda maintain their grip on Coleman’s favor remains to be seen. Though, if they’re keeping the pedal to the metal, Coleman will likely continue to sing their praises.
Featured image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram
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