by Matt Weik
I’m a Cedric fanboy through and through. However, following his Arnold Classic win, I was completely disappointed with the package he brought to the Olympia stage. Not only did he barely squeeze into the top 10, but the guys he got beat by could quite frankly end Cedric’s chances of winning any shows in 2018.
Guys like Josh Lenartowicz, Brandon Curry, and Nathan DeAsha all came into the Olympia ready to do battle. Meanwhile, it seemed like Cedric missed the memo that the Olympia was coming up and he’d need to start prepping. Cedric was extremely confident and begged and pleaded in interviews to put him in the first callout and to let him stand next to the best in the world, but honestly, based on the way he looked he didn’t deserve to be anywhere close to those guys.
2018 will be rough
I’m not so sure how truthful Big Ramy was about him stepping on stage at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH, but if he does, you can kiss Cedric’s chance of a repeat goodbye. Heck, if any of the guys mentioned above opt-in for the Arnold, Cedric could be in big trouble. And honestly, it’s a shame.
It could also come down to watch the judges are looking for also at the Arnold. We all know what happened a couple years ago when he went toe-to-toe with Kai Greene. It was looking like Cedric was taking home the W until Kai was standing there holding the trophy. So, according to the judges, Cedric can hang with the big boys on that particular stage. While I’m not ruling an Arnold Classic repeat in 2018, I am saying he’s going to have some tough competition.
I like Cedric’s physique, but the judges are leaning towards overall size and hardness on stage these days. While Cedric has the size piece down, it’s his lack of hardness and muscle definition/separation that in my opinion is hurting him. Is he aesthetic? Heck yea. Is he symmetrical? Absolutely. Will his posing help at the Arnold? For sure. But, there are too many competitors out there who are extremely dangerous when they step on any stage.
What if Roelly, Rhoden, or Bonac decided to hop on stage at the Arnold? Heck, it would be like the Olympia all over again—minus Phil. Cedric probably wouldn’t even make the top five if this were the case. Even someone like Dexter could pop back into the line-up and toss his hat back in the ring to see if he can pick up some more titles under his belt. And honestly, I like it. I hate the fact that so many bodybuilders are sitting out the entire year and then we only see them once the Olympia comes rolling around. As a fan, I want to see these guys on stage more than once a year. And if they truly enjoyed bodybuilding and competing, they wouldn’t extend their off-season and would hop on stage 2-4 times a year.
I believe the IFBB needs to change their Olympia qualification to force more competitors to be on stage throughout the year versus placing well at the Olympia and automatically getting the invite to the following year which allows them to shut things down and only focus on that one show. In my opinion, that’s not right. Michael Jordan didn’t sit out the season following his NBA championships and say you’ll only see him in next year’s finals, so why should the sport of bodybuilding be any different?
What shows will we see Cedric in that he could win?
It’s tough to think that Cedric might not win a show in 2018—but that could be the reality. I see Cedric as a great ambassador for the sport and someone we need front and center. But, with Ramy coming into the Arnold (potentially), who knows what other competitors might pop into shows and push Cedric to the side? I’m not saying that I know for sure that Roelly, DeAsha, Curry, or someone like Bonac will do any shows other than the Olympia, but if they do, Cedric’s chances of a nice payday are thrown out the window.
I personally don’t see any of the top bodybuilders in the world (think of those in the top five at the Olympia) doing ALL of the Arnold Classic shows in 2018. Therefore, if Cedric can enter one of those and hit his conditioning, that would be his best bet for a win this year. He could even enter the New York Pro if he wanted to, but the competition even there could be fierce. I just can’t see him entering something like the Toronto Pro or the Vancouver Pro (or any small show) just to get some wins—but, I could be wrong.
2018 I believe will test Cedric’s will to want to be the best in the world. After his terrible Olympia placing, I’m sure he’s still cleaning out the cobwebs from between his ears after being dominated up on stage. I hate to see Cedric in the back of the pack as I truly believe he’s what the industry needs, but I believe he needs to take this time off to go back to the drawing board and bring a Cedric that no one has ever seen before. I know that’s easier said than done, but these up and coming bodybuilders are training to win and their changes year over year show. I’m just not seeing the same changes from Cedric that shows me he wants to one day be Mr. Olympia.