A Preview of the 2021 Arnold Classic UK Bodybuilding Contest – BarBend

On Sept. 25, the famed Arnold Classic US, which took place in Columbus, OH, saw history made as a 19th champion — Nick Walkerwas crowned in the contest’s 32-year history. A week later, on Oct. 1, 2021, history will be made once more with the debut of the Arnold Classic UK.

This new bodybuilding show is a part of the Arnold Sports Festival UK — which occurs from Oct. 1-3, in Birmingham, England. This event is a joint production by Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2017 World’s Strongest Man Eddie Hall, and ASF UK director Stephen Olexy. The Arnold Classic UK will feature five IFBB Pro League divisions — Men’s Open, Classic Physique, Men’s Physique, Fitness, Bikini — in addition to the Arnold Classic Strongman, powerlifting, boxing, arm wrestling, and more sports.

Heats will take place on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2, with the Finals on Saturday night. The Men’s Open contest is considered the main event of the Arnold Classic UK. Thirteen athletes will take the stage to compete for top honors a spot in the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition. Here’s a list of who’s competing in the Men’s Open division, according to ifbbpro.com.

2021 Arnold Classic UK Men’s Open

  • Gabor Berek
  • Tim Budesheim
  • Roberto Buonomo
  • Jamie Christian-Johal
  • Kuba Cielen
  • Samson Dauda
  • Nathan DeAsha
  • Patrick Johnson
  • Theo Leguerrier
  • Marek Olejniczak
  • Joe Seemen
  • Ole Kristian Vaaga
  • Krystian Wolski

Men’s Open Competitors to Watch

Fans may not recognize as many names on this roster compared to more established events such as the Olympia, Arnold Classic US, and Tampa Pro. However, this roster boasts serious talent. Here are three Men’s Open competitors to keep your eyes on. 

Nathan DeAsha

By most accounts, Nathan DeAsha is the overwhelming favorite going into this contest. He has the home-field advantage, and DeAsha is by far the most accomplished athlete in the lineup.  In 2021, DeAsha won the Europa Pro in Alicante, Spain, looking as lean as ever in his career. His legs have been a focus of his training in recent weeks, and his symmetry is second to none. 

DeAsha is already qualified for the 2021 Mr. Olympia contest, which takes place Oct. 7-10 Orlando, FL. Some athletes have dealt with traveling issues recently, but DeAsha is still scheduled to be in this contest and the Olympia as of this writing.

Samson Dauda 

Dauda is another UK competitor, and his fanbase has been growing (with over 40 thousand Instagram followers at the time this article was written).  This will be Dauda’s first appearance onstage in 2021.

His last contest was the 2020 British Grand Prix, where he placed sixth. He has yet to score a victory as a pro. His highest placing was second at the 2020 Monsterzym Pro contest. He has wide shoulders and a narrow waist. His potential to be successful is very high. He has to nail his conditioning and outlast his fellow competitors during each pose.

Tim Budesheim

Budesheim hasn’t won any contests in 2021, but he has been in the mix. He was the runner-up at the Mr. Big Evolution Pro to winner Andrea Presti back in July. He also finished in third place at the Europa Pro behind DeAsha, who won, and second-place finisher Roelly Winklaar.

Budesheim is a larger bodybuilder who usually is very lean onstage. DeAsha can’t be off, or this German competitor will be ready to take the top spot.

Other Divisions

Here’s a list of the competitors in the four other Arnold Classic UK divisions. 


  • Kate Errington

Classic Physique

  • Ryan Cartwright
  • Jack Connor
  • Vincent Craine
  • Shane Cullen 
  • Michael Daboul

Men’s Physique

  • Sean Carroll
  • Jack Davies
  • Youcef Djoudi
  • Ryan-John Baptiste
  • Rory Gissing
  • Xiao Long Hong
  • Romane Lanceford
  • Maxime Parisi
  • Tyler Smith
  • Omar Suleiman
  • Ryan Terry
  • Dawid Wachelka
  • Emile Walker


  • Anastasia Gonzalez Andreu
  • Phoebe Hagan
  • Jessica Kavanagh
  • Noora Mahonen
  • Ottavia Mazza
  • Ewelina Szala
  • Petra Voldanova
  • Jade-Kelsie Wolfenden

Don’t Miss the Mr. Olympia

The Arnold Classic UK takes place exactly one week before the prestigious Mr. Olympia. Set to take place from Oct 7-10, Olympia weekend will see 11 divisions face off for a piece of the $1.6 million prize pool and the most coveted title in the sport of bodybuilding. The O is the season’s final show for many of the top pros in the sport, and the last chance to qualify was at the Arnold Classic US.

For those who can’t fly to Orlando, a PPV is available at olympiaproductions.com for $49.95.

Featured Image (left to right): @budesheim_time and nathandeasha2 on Instagram