5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (2024)

Dragon Ball

5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (1)

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5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (5)

Summary

  • Cell killed Goku with a suicide attack, keeping him dead for 7 years until he was revived by Old Kai.
  • Hit managed to kill Goku momentarily in a rematch that Goku set up, proving himself a threat.
  • Jiren withstood all Goku's techniques and defeated him, only being taken out by a kamikaze attack.

While Goku might have a reputation as not only the strongest Dragon Ball character, but one of the most powerful anime characters of all time, even he isn't completely undefeated. In fact, Goku has been defeated on a number of occasions, particularly when he was younger. Adult Goku, on the other hand, has had far fewer defeats, but those times when he lost are among the most notable moments in the series specifically because of how rare they are.

Goku's losses often have some extenuating circ*mstances to them, explaining why he lost, but not always. Goku rarely complains about matches being unfair, however, and often accepts his losses with grace. For Goku, losing just means that there's a powerful opponent out there who he can fight again some day, and that prospect excites him like no other. Here are five of the most powerful characters to have defeated Goku in a fight.

5 Cell Actually Managed to Kill Goku

First Appearance: Dragon Ball Z, "The Reunion"

5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (6)

Cell's final act as a villain was to attempt to self-destruct, intending to take out all of his foes with him, but thanks to Goku's courageous actions, he was able to grab onto Cell and transport him to King Kai's planet, meaning the only casualties of Cell's suicide attack were King Kai, Gregory, Bubbles, and Goku himself. It might seem like a technicality, since Goku chose to hold Cell down and die along with him, but ultimately what matters is that Cell successfully killed Goku with his attack, even if he too died in the process.

What might be more surprising is how long Goku’s death to Cell stuck, as he wasn’t revived until well into the Buu Saga, when Old Kai gave him a new life using a special life transfer technique rather than using the Dragon Balls. That means Goku stayed dead for over 7 years, simply because he felt it was his presence that was attracting villains like Cell to attack in the first place. Ironically, while this does apply to Frieza and the Saiyans, it doesn’t apply to Cell, who came back from the future to seek out the Androids, not Goku.

Amusingly, Cell’s kill count for characters in general is actually quite low compared to villains like Frieza and Buu, who have destroyed entire planets, killing the whole population along with them. Cell, on the other hand, has only killed a handful of humans, the aforementioned four characters, Androids 16 and 17, and one iteration of Future Trunks from his home timeline. Still, Cell managed to kill Goku, and that’s something that very few other Dragon Ball villains can claim.

4 Goku Lost to Hit to Defy the Gods

First Appearance: Dragon Ball Super, "The Matches Begin! We're All Off to the 'Planet with No Name!'"

5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (7)

Hit is an assassin from Universe 6 who possesses the incredibly valuable and unique skill known as Time Skip, which allows him to strike at opponents before they even have a chance to react. Using this technique in the Tournament of Destroyers, Hit is able to land some powerful attacks on Goku, but Goku soon begins to be able to anticipate the Time Skip, allowing him to disrupt or even avoid the attacks altogether, leaving Hit stunned.

However, as their battle continued, it became apparent to Goku that Hit, as an assassin, was being hampered from using his full power by the rules of the tournament, which forbade killing one’s opponent. Goku even asks to have the rule lifted, but Beerus objects fervently, (accurately) claiming this only provides an advantage to Universe 6 and gives his team no help at all. Goku, wanting nothing more than to go at Hit at his full potential, is extremely disappointed at Beerus' objection.

That’s when Goku and Hit agree on something: that these Gods of Destruction are behaving quite selfishly. Hit dislikes seeing people treated as pawns, especially when one of those pawns is him, and he and Goku have a silent moment. Goku takes himself out of the tournament in protest, giving the win to Hit. While Hit’s victory over Goku may be a technicality, Hit manages to prove himself later on when Goku takes out a hit on himself in an attempt to force Hit to fight him at full strength. In this rematch, Hit actually does manage to kill Goku momentarily, proving that when unrestrained, Hit really is a threat to Goku.

3 Jiren Withstood A Divine Technique to Defeat Goku

First Appearance: Dragon Ball Super, "The Universes Go Into Action -- Each With Their Own Motives"

Jiren is a warrior from Universe 11 and the strongest fighter in the Tournament of Power. He so outclasses almost every other competitor that no one is willing to fight him initially, leaving Jiren alone to watch as the tournament plays out. Jiren only takes action when Kale transforms into the Legendary Super Saiyan and is able to shut her down with astonishing speed and skill. This naturally intrigues Goku further, and before long the two actually begin to fight.

Goku attempts many techniques against Jiren—the Kamehameha, the Super Saiyan Blue/Kaioken x20 combo, and even the Spirit Bomb—but Jiren is able to resist all of these, and is the only character in Dragon Ball history to have every deflected Goku’s Spirit Bomb back at him. These failures only push Goku to try harder and grow faster, prompting him to unlock Autonomous Ultra Instinct: Sign for the first time. While this enhances Goku’s ability to dodge Jiren, he still isn’t able to land many hits on the warrior, and Ultra Instinct’s power fades away.

Even Goku fighting alongside Vegeta barely moves the needle against Jiren, who is able to handle both of them with almost no effort at all. Jiren lasts long enough to be one of the final competitors, up against Frieza, Android 17, and Goku. Goku manages to obtain the full Ultra Instinct and starts turning the tables on Jiren, but after an impressive display, Goku loses Ultra Instinct again, and is at Jiren’s mercy.

While Goku is saved by Frieza’s intervention, there’s no question that Jiren had defeated Goku at this point, and it’s only thanks to a kamikaze gambit by both Goku and Frieza that Android 17 emerges victorious.

2 Vegeta Manages to Best Goku in a Practice Fight

First Appearance: Dragon Ball Z, "Gohan's Rage"

5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (9)

Vegeta is Goku’s greatest rival, and the two have been in a constant competition as to who’s the strongest for decades at this point. While Goku often has the edge, achieving new forms and powerful techniques first, Vegeta is rarely far behind, often managing to unlock these abilities in a faster time frame than Goku does. Vegeta and Goku have battled on many occasions, and while Goku almost always comes out on top, there’s at least one instance where that wasn’t the case.

In Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and its accompanying manga arc, Vegeta is engaged in a training match with Goku on Beerus’ World while the Cell Max incident is occurring back on Earth. The two battle in the background for almost the entire length of the movie. At the end of the film, an exhausted Vegeta and Goku are shown, barely able to stand, before Goku collapses and declares that he has lost. Vegeta celebrates his rare victory over Goku, while Goku laments losing the sparring match. Vegeta is unsurprisingly a bit of a sore winner, bragging about his victory.

Of course, the battle went on for so long that no one was really paying attention anymore, and Lord Beerus had actually fallen asleep. While only a training match, Vegeta and Goku really were going all out, using their fullest abilities, and as the latest point in the timeline so far, that means Goku was at his very best, and it still wasn’t quite enough to defeat Vegeta this time. It would seem that, at least for the moment, Vegeta has finally managed to achieve his dream of outdoing Goku.

1 Beerus Overpowered Goku With Divine Power

First Appearance: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (10)

Unlike Cell, Beerus actually did come to Earth looking for Goku, although he didn’t know it was Goku who he was looking for at the time. Instead, Beerus had a vision of the "Super Saiyan God," which ultimately led him to Earth, where the only living Saiyans could be found. With some guidance from Shenron, Goku and his friends were able to pull off a special ritual which unlocked a source of Divine Ki within Goku, granting him the ability to transform into the new Super Saiyan God form.

With this new power, Beerus excitedly began a battle with Goku, one which took them all the way to the edge of space. Beerus lands the first hit, and maintains an edge over Goku throughout the entire battle. Goku fought admirably with his new power, knowing that the fate of the Earth may well be on the line. Beerus pierces Goku’s stomach with his hand, sending the Super Saiyan God falling into the ocean.

Goku isn’t done quite yet, however. He manages to get in several more hits as the pair ascend back into space, alarming the Supreme Kai, as their clash could destroy the universe as a whole. Goku reverts to ordinary Super Saiyan, and fights on valiantly, destroying another powerful ball of energy before his power depletes entirely and he falls back to Earth. Beerus has won their fight, but is so tired as a result of it that he falls asleep before he can destroy the Earth.

While many of these other victories over Goku have little caveats attached to them, there’s no question that Beerus defeated Goku. Fortunately, Beerus took an interest in Goku and decided to help him train, helping him to achieve new heights like Ultra Instinct. It’s been a while since the two clashed, and it’s not known how today’s Goku would stack up against the God of Destruction. Regardless, Beerus is without a doubt the most powerful Dragon Ball character to have ever defeated Goku.

5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (11)
Dragon Ball

From the creative mind of Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball is a mega multimedia franchise that spans back to the 1980s. Dragon Ball expanded quickly, starting as a serialized manga for Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan. It made its way overseas via manga and an anime adaptation that is enjoyed worldwide. Dragon Ball was the initial starting animated series that followed the adventures of the young Son Goku as he sought after the Dragon Balls. These mystical orbs would grant the wish of any who gathered them together. Then, the series would branch off into the immensely popular Dragon Ball Z, which followed Goku as an adult and featured high-intensity battles and Goku's never-ending search to be the strongest. The series has also enjoyed several popular video game adaptations and continues to release several new animated series and theatrical films up to the recent popular Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

Created by
Akira Toriyama

First Film
Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies
Latest Film
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
First TV Show
Dragon Ball (1986)

Latest TV Show
Super Dragon Ball Heroes

First Episode Air Date
April 26, 1989

Latest Episode
2019-10-05

Cast
Sean Schemmel , Laura Bailey , Brian Drummond , Christopher Sabat , Scott McNeil
Current Series
Dragon Ball Super
Video Game(s)
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 , Dragon Ball FighterZ , Dragon Ball: The Breakers , Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission , Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z , Dragon Ball Xenoverse , Dragon Ball Z Kakarot

Summary

From the creative mind of Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball is a mega multimedia franchise that spans back to the 1980s. Dragon Ball expanded quickly, starting as a serialized manga for Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan. It made its way overseas via manga and an anime adaptation that is enjoyed worldwide. Dragon Ball was the initial starting animated series that followed the adventures of the young Son Goku as he sought after the Dragon Balls. These mystical orbs would grant the wish of any who gathered them together. Then, the series would branch off into the immensely popular Dragon Ball Z, which followed Goku as an adult and featured high-intensity battles and Goku's never-ending search to be the strongest. The series has also enjoyed several popular video game adaptations and continues to release several new animated series and theatrical films up to the recent popular Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

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  • Dragon Ball

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5 Most Powerful Dragon Ball Characters Who Have Beaten Goku in a Fight (2024)
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