Joey Chestnut is the undisputed king of competitive eating, especially when it comes to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. The American legend has won 16 titles in the annual event, including eight in a row from 2016 to 2023. He also holds the world record of 76 hot dogs and buns consumed in 10 minutes, which he set in 2020. However, Chestnut does have a single blemish on his otherwise Undertaker-esque dominance at the tournament, and his name is Matt Stonie.
The Dominance of Joey Chestnut
Joey Chestnut, also known as “Jaws”, burst onto the scene in 2007 when he dethroned six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi in a dramatic eat-off. Since then, Chestnut has been virtually unstoppable, winning 15 more titles and breaking his own records multiple times. He has eaten an average of 71.6 hot dogs in the 10-minute contest since 2016, which is more than the average American eats in an entire year. He has also won numerous other eating competitions, such as the Hooters Wing Eating Championship, the World Poutine Eating Championship, and the World Taco Eating Championship.
The Rise of Matt Stonie
Matt Stonie, also known as “Megatoad”, is a fellow American competitive eater who started his career in 2010. He quickly rose through the ranks of Major League Eating, winning various contests such as the World Gyro Eating Championship, the World Oyster Eating Championship, and the World Moon Pie Eating Championship. He also became a popular YouTube star, with over 15 million subscribers who watch him devour massive amounts of food on his channel.
The Shocking Upset: Stonie Defeats Chestnut
In 2015, Stonie shocked the world by defeating Chestnut at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, ending his eight-year reign. Stonie ate 62 hot dogs and buns, while Chestnut ate 60. It was the first time since 2007 that someone other than Chestnut won the coveted Mustard Belt. Stonie said he had been training hard for months, and that he felt confident going into the contest. He also said he was inspired by his fans and his family, who cheered him on from the sidelines.
Stonie’s Training and Preparation
Stonie revealed some of his secrets to his success in an interview with ESPN. He said he practiced eating hot dogs twice a week, increasing his speed and capacity each time. He also followed a strict diet and exercise regimen, avoiding junk food and alcohol, and working out regularly. He said he drank a lot of water to stretch his stomach, and used supplements to aid his digestion and recovery. He also studied Chestnut’s technique and strategy, and tried to find ways to improve his own.
Chestnut’s Redemption: Regaining the Championship Belt
Chestnut did not take his loss lightly. He vowed to come back stronger and reclaim his title in 2016. And he did just that, eating a then-record 70 hot dogs and buns, while Stonie ate only 53. Chestnut said he was motivated by his defeat, and that he trained harder than ever before. He also said he changed his approach to the contest, focusing more on himself rather than his opponent. He said he felt more relaxed and confident than ever.
Chestnut’s Record-Breaking Performances
Since regaining his title in 2016, Chestnut has been unstoppable at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. He has won eight consecutive titles from 2016 to 2023, breaking his own records four times in the process. In 2017, he ate 72 hot dogs and buns; in 2018, he ate 74; in 2020, he ate 76; and in 2021, he ate an astonishing 77. He has also faced some challenges along the way, such as a weather delay in 2023, an animal rights protestor in 2020, and some fierce competitors such as Geoffrey Esper and Nick Wehry.
Other Notable Competitors in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
While Chestnut and Stonie have been the main stars of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in recent years, there have been some other notable competitors who have made their mark on the event. Some of them are:
- Takeru Kobayashi: The Japanese phenom who won six consecutive titles from 2001 to 2006, setting several world records along the way. He is widely regarded as the pioneer of competitive eating, and the one who popularized the sport. He also had a famous rivalry with Chestnut, which ended in 2009 when he refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating. He has since competed in independent events, and holds the unofficial record of 83 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
- Miki Sudo: The reigning women’s champion who has won nine titles from 2014 to 2023, breaking the women’s world record of 48.5 hot dogs and buns in 2017. She is also Chestnut’s girlfriend, and the two often train and compete together. She has also won several other eating contests, such as the World Kimchi Eating Championship, the World Gyoza Eating Championship, and the World Rib Eating Championship.
- Sonya Thomas: The former women’s champion who won four titles from 2011 to 2014, setting the women’s world record of 45 hot dogs and buns in 2012. She is also known as “The Black Widow”, for her ability to outeat men much larger than her. She has also won several other eating contests, such as the World Oyster Eating Championship, the World Lobster Eating Championship, and the World Hard-Boiled Egg Eating Championship.
The Legacy of Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie
Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie have both left a lasting legacy on the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and on competitive eating in general. They have pushed the limits of human performance, and entertained millions of fans around the world with their feats of gastronomic glory. They have also inspired many aspiring eaters to follow their footsteps, and to challenge themselves to achieve their goals. They have shown that competitive eating is not just a sport, but an art form.
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is one of the most exciting and surprising events in sports. Every year, it showcases the best of competitive eating, and provides a spectacle of speed, skill, and stamina. It also celebrates the spirit of America, and its love for freedom, fun, and food. Whether it’s Joey Chestnut breaking his own records, Matt Stonie pulling off an upset, or someone else making history, there is always something to look forward to at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.