Competitive eater Joey Chestnut set to defend Nugget World Rib-Eating Championship title against Matt Stonie

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"This year is going to be tough," said Joey Chestnut in anticipation of the 10th Annual Best in the West Nugget World Rib-Eating Championship. "Stonie has beaten me the last four times I've seen him."

The Stonie he's referring to is Matt Stonie, who will once again be facing off with Chestnut for the title of World Rib-Eating Champion. Chestnut has taken home the gold the last five years in a row, and is the current world record holder for most ribs consumed in 12 minutes, with a whopping 13.76 pounds. Last year he took the title with 9.27, followed by Stonie at 8.3.

Chestnut is hoping that the Rib-Eating Championship, held on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m., will be the key to besting Stonie, who has come in first at the last several Major League Eating events the two have attended together. A San Jose native, Stonie recently ousted Chestnut as the reigning champ of the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, at which Chestnut had emerged victorious the eight years prior. Stonie managed 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes, barely beating out Chestnut's 60, and is currently ranked as Major League Eating's number one eater.

"We will push each other hard and I'm hoping to find a rhythm that I haven't seen this year," said Chestnut.

Also on the roster this year to test their rib-eating chops are Miki Sudo, coming off her recent win as women's champion of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (38 dogs and buns in 10 minutes), Crazy Legs Conti, who holds the world record in sweet corn, and Erik "the Red" Denmark, fry bread eating champion.

Lucky fans may find a few of the eaters next to the stage prior to the event – which is a "true legend" on the competitive eating circuit according to Major League Eating – for an impromptu meet and greet. Chestnut in particular has been gracious and humble at past events, stopping to pose for pictures and chatting stats with fans eager to see what the competition will bring.

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