Joey Chestnut & Takeru Kobayashi To Beef It Out In Netflix Hot Dog Eating Contest

The world of competitive eating is about to witness a legendary one-on-one brawl between Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi, streaming live on Netflix on September 2. If you don't follow eating competitions, these two titans are arguably the greatest in the game. Except for a 2015 upset, Joey Chestnut has won Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest every year since his debut in 2007 and is currently ranked the No. 1 eater in the world by Major League Eating (MLE). Takeru Kobayashi is Chestnut's professed rival, having held the Nathan's Famous title from 2001 until 2006, only to be dethroned by the newcomer.

The last time these two champions faced off was in 2009, meaning this rivalry has been simmering below the surface for 15 years. The unfortunate gap was caused by a contract dispute between MLE and Kobayashi, who was resistant to the amount of control the organization wanted to have over him. When he tried to take the stage in the 2010 competition — despite being banned — Kobayashi was arrested and scrubbed from MLE's "Wall of Fame" entirely.

While Kobayashi has participated in other events since, his ability to compete has been severely undercut by MLE's ban. Recently, there've been rumors that Kobayashi was ready to retire from competitive eating, so this may be his final event. "Retiring for me will only happen after I take [Chestnut] down one last time," Kobayashi told Netflix. "This rivalry has been brewing for a long time."

Is MLE losing its grip on the competitive eating scene?

Incredibly, this competition comes hot on the heels of Joey Chestnut's own contract dispute with MLE. Chestnut recently accepted a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods, and MLE has decided to remove him from the 2024 Fourth of July competition unless he is no longer representing a rival brand. It will be the first year since 2007 that Chestnut won't be at the event, and fans are not happy that corporate saber-rattling is keeping the reigning champion from defending his throne.

The fact that this Netflix event is being organized so quickly following Chestnut's falling-out with MLE lends some credence to Kobayashi's original claims about the organization exerting too much control over the competitors. The competitive eating world has been crying for a Chestnut-Kobayashi contest for years — ever since Kobayashi's arrest in 2010, really. "Through all of my years in competitive eating, Kobayashi stands out as my fiercest rival," Chestnut told Netflix. "I know that fans have waited a long time for another chapter of our rivalry, and I can't wait for our massive showdown live on Netflix! It's time to give the people what they want!"

Even though MLE has successfully asserted dominance over the Nathan's Famous competition and kept their own corporate rivals at bay, this may ultimately turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory. We're just excited to see our heroes eat hot dogs again!