Joey Chestnut, competitive eating’s GOAT, seeks to reclaim Buffalo wing title: ‘Going to go in hungry’

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — You may have seen Joey “Jaws” Chestnut demolish the competition — and the food — in any of his 16 dominant wins at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest held annually on the Fourth of July. This weekend, he’ll have two titles on the line when he plies his trade in Western New York.

Chestnut, widely considered as the greatest competitor of all time in the sport of competitive eating, joined News 4 at 4 in studio ahead of his appearances at the National Buffalo Wing Festival at Highmark Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. Chestnut will compete in two categories: the Buffalo Buffet Bowl and the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship.

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While Chestnut is unrivaled when it comes to hot dogs, he’s actually tasted defeat at each of the three previous editions of the chicken wing championship since. He was twice bested by a legend on the women’s side, Miki Sudo, in 2022 and 2021. In 2019, Chestnut was second place by five to a world-record 281 wings from Geoffery Esper. His last win came in 2018.

“I’m a little bit nervous,” Major League Eating’s No. 1-ranked Chestnut admitted to News 4’s Jordan Norkus and Dave Greber. “I think I’m on a four-year losing streak here so I really want to turn that around. It’s rough because I love coming here.”

Chestnut typically prefers to fast before contests, a strategy that he can find tricky to employ in a proud food city like Buffalo.

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“[Fasting] is hard in Buffalo, because you guys have the best food in the country I think,” Chestnut said. “You guys have so much good food here, like the hot dogs and beef on weck.”

Watch Chestnut’s full interview with News 4 in the video player above. To see the event schedule for the National Buffalo Wing Festival, click here.

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Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.

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