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Joey Chestnut

DEFENDS RIB TITLE

Rebounds After Crushing Gyoza Loss

9/4/2013 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

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JOEY CHESTNUT IS BACK!!!

The greatest competitive eater on the face of the planet returned to form this weekend at the rib cook-off in Reno, NV and took FIRST PLACE ... edging out the guy who beat him in the Gyoza championships last month.

Like Magic vs. Bird or Ali vs. Frazier ... Chestnut bellied up to the table next to rival Matt Stonie and put down 13.76 pounds of ribs in 12 minutes at the 8th Annual Nugget World Rib Eating Championship at John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort.

21-year-old Stonie -- who many consider the future of competitive eating -- came in a close 2nd with 11.2 pounds of rib meat.

Both men crushed the previous record of 9.8 pounds ... which was set in 2008 by, you guessed it, Joey Chestnut.

Thanks to our friends at Getaway Reno/Tahoe for the rib footage.

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