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World's Best Warrior

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"I'm the best there is at what I do. And what I do isn't very nice."

This is the character who can, with little argument, mop the floor with just about anyone or anything.

There are a couple of ways to utilize this trope:

Sometimes overlaps with World's Strongest Man, especially when brute force or sheer firepower are what decides combat strength. The first variation of this trope typically appears in competitions, such as a martial arts, boxing, or wrestling, where combatants would be subject to a great many rules, as well as gender and weight restrictions. The second variation is extremely common in Shōnen, where Power Levels indicate combat capabilities and fighting spirit. See also The Greatest Style, which this character probably uses, or at least knows how to beat. Frequently overlaps with Master Swordsman and Master Archer for their respective weapons.

If this character actually does lose to someone, they are usually a Superior Successor and are instantly promoted to the new #1 spot. This character is either the winner (or a main antagonist) in a Tournament Arc, a Combat by Champion or when There Can Be Only One. Due to these factors they may face The Perils of Being the Best. In works where the hero is going To Be a Master, the person who fits this trope would be the biggest challenge in achieving their goal.

Sub-Trope of "World's Best" Character by being that, but for just martial feats. In Arrogant God vs. Raging Monster, one of them tends to be this.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Afro Samurai, the Number One Headband is reserved for the best fighter on Earth, who can only be challenged for the title by someone who has the Number Two Headband — The Hero himself — and anyone can challenge him for that headband. Afro himself isn't so interested for the Number One Headband, though — he just wanted revenge because the wearer killed his father.
  • Akame ga Kill!:
    • Esdeath is acknowledged as the most formidable warrior in the Empire, serving as both The Dreaded and a Hero Killer.
    • Akame is the fastest, and most skilled swordswoman in the world. In the anime, she bested Esdeath — a fellow Story-Breaker Power — in single combat and is often unavailable in any situation where it can settled with one slash of her Murasame.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Levi. Don't let his short stature, lack of social skills, or the fact that he's such a Neat Freak delude you—he's acknowledged in-universe as "Humanity's Strongest Soldier" for a reason. He makes Mikasa of all people look like a Red Shirt, and was able to take on the Female Titan on his own. His fighting ability is so formidable that the Beast Titan comes to be terrified of him. On top of that, his official data states his battle skills are 11 from a 1 to 10 scale.
  • Baki the Grappler: Ultimate Life Form Yujiro Hanma is by far the strongest fighter on the planet. He is so strong the United States signed a peace agreement with him. He is so strong that his abilities are such that he can stop earthquakes with a single punch. He is so strong the whole premise of the series is Yujiro birthing a son (the protagonist Baki) that could potentially pose a challenge and raising Baki in such a profoundly messed up way it borders on Black Comedy.
  • Blade of the Immortal's Makie Otono-Tachibana is recognized by Anotsu, a prodigy blessed with The Gift, as his eternal superior with the blade. In all cases where Makie fights someone and said person makes it out of the battle alive, the only reason they aren't dead is because she has spared them. The only time she has struggled in a fight was when she was barely conscious due to suffering the effects of tuberculosis and being outnumbered by mooks and a handful of elite warriors, each of them at least equal to The Hero. Even so, one of her opponents, the second or third best warrior in the entire series, states outright that if they attacked her all at once, she'd almost certainly kill them all. At the end of the series some assassins snipe her with matchlocks and she still manages to kill all of them before she perishes.
  • Bleach:
    • Commander Genryuusai Shigekuni Yamamoto, the leader of the Gotei 13. He is viewed in-universe as the most powerful combatant in Soul Society and he himself states no-one in a thousand years has been born that's stronger than him. However, as he recruited Yachiru (see below) to the original, founding members of the Gotei 13, it's not clear which of them was supposed to be regarded as the World's Best Warrior. The manga goes some way to suggesting they both were but in different ways, with his focus being on power and hers on skill.
    • Shunsui Kyoraku is a very skilled swordsman and one of the strongest captains in the Gotei 13. In the fake Karakura Town, he was able to match Espada number 1, Coyote Starrk and managed to defeat him using his Shikai, which can turn a children's game into reality to lethal effect. In the final battle against the Vandenreich, he uses his Bankai as a last resort against Lille Barro, he would have defeated the latter if Lille hadn't entered his second Völlstandig form.
    • "Yachiru" is a Meaningful Name given to the master of all known forms of sword-based combat. She was the best warrior of her generation and one of the worst criminals Soul Society had ever seen. She was also a founding captain of the Gotei 13, creating both the 11th Division and the "Kenpachi," the title given to the strongest captain in any given generation of captains. Yachiru is eventually revealed to be the gentle and motherly medic, Captain Unohana, showing that other characters' fear at Unohana's rare expressions of anger was not a gag.
    • Ichibei Hyosube is the commander of Squad Zero and one of the most powerful combatants the world of Bleach has to offer. His Zanpakuto, Ichimonji does not cut flesh but it does have him cut names, plus he’s the first Soul Reaper, to have a Zanpakuto with a release form. Ichibē was the very first character to fight Yhwach himself, who had previously defeated Genryusai Yamamoto with little effort, on even ground. With his Bankai, Shirafude Ichimonji, Ichibē would've been able to completely destroy Yhwach had the latter not used the Almighty.
  • Claymore:
    • Teresa is referred to as the strongest half-yoma warrior of all generations. Priscilla defeated Teresa and may have surpassed her, but she did it by using her Superpowered Evil Side and an underhanded trick to lower Teresa's guard, the former of which Teresa never came close to tapping into herself. As of the finale, Teresa's spirit is called back and brought bodily forth via Clare; using only 10% of her total strength, Teresa utterly dominates Priscilla's rampaging and constantly-regenerating Awakened form. Once Teresa Awakens herself to bring things decisively to a close, she cements her status forevermore as the strongest Claymore to ever live.
    • According to trainee twins, Raki is the strongest known Badass Normal, an ordinary human capable of fighting regular yoma with ease. Of course, not being a half-yoma warrior himself means he can't locate them to fight them without assistance.
    • Any warrior ranked Number One of their particular era is this by default; the status of being ranked at the top is even noted to being considered 'the absolute figure of that age', which is a pretty hefty title on its own.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Spike Spiegel is definitely this, especially back in the day, where he never failed to kill a target, and left no witnesses, no matter how many people stood against him. In the modern day, he still remains The Dreaded to every criminal and assassin in the solar system, only rivaled by his former business partner Vicious. To quote Vicious himself:
    "I'm the only one who can keep you alive... And I'm the only one that can kill you..."
  • Date A Live: Ellen Mira Mathers is stated repeatedly by the narrative, others and herself to be the strongest Wizard in existence. The truth is more complicated; while Ellen is a talented fighter, other people (like Kurumi, Nia and Mukuro) are such hefty winners of the Superpower Lottery that it's hard to think she could win a straight-up fight against them.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • This is a title that's hard to call, because part of the story is about characters rising to meet challenges. However, in the very last battle with Majin Buu, Vegeta acknowledges that Goku is, indeed, the best. Goku's son, Gohan, also constantly calls his father the greatest fighter ever or the strongest in the universe, despite him being stronger than his dad several times in the series. Canon says his son Gohan can become more powerful than his father, but Goku has more skill, more determination, more willing to train to improve himself, and is more able to reliably secure win after win, so reasonably he would be the best warrior.
    • The movie, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, establishes that Goku is only his universe's strongest mortal. On a level even greater than him is the God of Destruction, Beerus and even stronger than him is his mentor, the angel Whis. When questioned about how much more powerful Beerus is than Goku, Akira Toriyama stated that Goku is roughly a 6 in power, Beerus is a 10, and Whis is 15.
    • In the non-canon movie The World's Strongest, Dr. Wheelo seeks out the strongest fighter on Earth as a host body for his disembodied brain. However, since his intel is out-of-date, he goes for the man who was the world's best warrior of the previous generation, Muten-Roshi.
    • Even though he's no longer the World's Strongest Man, Master Roshi is still the most skilled martial artist in the world by far, to the point where even Goku still comes to him for fighting advice. The Tournament of Power arc showcases this nicely, as he beats several opponents far stronger than he is, and he displays insight that is so finely attuned that Beerus actually mistakes it for the god-like Ultra Instinct ability.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, it's revealed that there are several universes and, like the "main" universe (Universe 7), each of them have their own strongest fighters. The person who really takes the cake is Jiren, the World's Strongest Man of Universe 11, who is so powerful that it's hinted that he has even surpassed the power of his universe's God of Destruction. It's outright stated that Jiren is more powerful than at least some universes' Gods of Destruction, but never specified which ones.
    • Mr. Satan is regarded by almost everyone on Earth to be the World's Best Warrior for having successfully defeated both Cell and Majin Buu. In truth, however, Mr. Satan is not the hero people believe him to be: while a genuinely talented fighter who earned his victory in the World Martial Arts Tournament prior to the Majin Saga, a nice guy following some Character Development, and instrumental in helping Goku defeat Kid Buu, he is nowhere even approaching the level of strength of Goku or his peers.
  • Eyeshield 21 has Kurita Ryoukan becoming the world's best offensive lineman near the end. He is only the third strongest character but his training allows him to beat the second strongest who is still too greenhorned to the game and has the heart to stop first one. The Hero's team even lampshade during the fall tournament's finals that no one in Japan can stop him anymore.
  • Fairy Tail: The Dragon Slayer turned Dragon King Acnologia is acknowledged by pretty much everyone, including an The Archmage with Complete Immortality and Walking Wasteland powers, as the most powerful being on the planet without question. With 400+ years of life and combat experience under his belt, possessing Anti-Magic by way of being a Magic Eater and being a human-turned-dragon, and physically having the strength and power to hunt down and reduce the entire dragon race (the most powerful beings on the planet) to virtual extinction, he's more or less acknowledged as a Physical God. The only beings who could possibly match him are those few dragons who acknowledged his superiority and went into hiding for centuries trying to get stronger to fight him, and the previously mentioned immortal arch-mage admits even after gaining an infinite source of magic power he can't beat him in direct combat and would have to go back in time to when Acnologia was weaker to have a chance.
  • In Food Wars!, where cooking is everything, the best chef is far and away, Jouichirou Saiba, who also happens to be the protagonist's father and master. Ironically, even though he is a dropout of Totsuki, Jouichirou is far more successful than any alumnus of Totsuki. His unique culinary style involves brute force experimentation by hybridizing several cuisines, ingredients and techniques. So while even he is prone to making mistakes, Jouichirou remains unsurpassed as of now. In his school days, he once single handedly crushed fifty upper classmen in a cooking duel and was called the Asura of Cooking. Even Gin and Azami, who were the greatest of the elite Totsuki Culinary Academy revere Jouichirou as some sort of God. Azami in particular adulated Jouichirou so much that he staged a revolution to avenge him.
  • Fist of the North Star:
    • Kenshiro is the successor of Hokuto Shinken, quite possibly the most badass martial art in the world. Only a small handful of warriors have managed to match him in pure martial arts skill and power, or win their first major battle against him. Everyone else he fights either becomes an ally, escapes and lives to fight another day, or is already dead.
    • Kenshiro's foster brother, Toki was regarded by the former to be the finest practitioner of Hokuto Shinken. Toki was originally meant to be the successor of Hokuto Shinken instead of Kenshiro, were it not for his sudden illness from the nuclear fallout. Even when weak and dying, Toki was still one of the most dangerous martial artists of the series.
  • GTO: The Early Years: Eikichi Onizuka is Famed in Story as the strongest fighter in all of Shonan, which makes every wannabe badass want to fight him. The only times he loses a fight, he soon recovers and returns the favor.
  • Hajime no Ippo:
    • Ricardo Martinez is certainly this in the world of Featherweight boxing. He's been the champion of his weight class for years by the time of the story proper, and has never been defeated.
    • Takamura, however, is unquestionably this. Takamura was a nearly-invincible badass even before he learned to box, but after learning, he's utterly dominated his competition (although he's had some very close fights). It's even his goal to conquer every single weight division, and he's already completed two (Junior Middleweight and Middleweight, in which he even unified the WBA and WBC belts). Word of God says he's the single best boxer in the series, even over Martinez, above.
  • Inuyasha:
    • The father of Inuyasha and Sesshomaru was considered this, feared throughout feudal Japan for being both incredibly powerful and a great warrior who had defeated some of the most formidable demons in existence. Throughout the series, Sesshoumaru's goal is to become this in order to live up to the legacy of his father via relentless training and pursuit of absolute power. Though stated repeatedly that Inu no Taisho (aka Toga) was still a much greater warrior than him, Sesshomaru was already the greatest warrior in feudal Japan alive even early on and rarely struggled with any enemy. By the end of the series and having gained his Infinity +1 Sword, Sesshomaru is stated to have at the very least equaled, if not, surpassed his father.
    • Though the sequel series Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon adds Kirinmaru, the Lord of the Eastern Lands and effectively the Chinese equivalent of Inu no Taisho, as another great demonic warrior who rivals both Inu no Taisho and Sesshomaru as the current most skilled and powerful fighter alive.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: In a world filled with many extraordinary supernatural characters, some particularly stand out as candidates for the best fighter, all of which are likewise among the greatest in terms of sheer power.
    • Satoru Gojo has overwhelming levels of power as among the two top contenders for the status of World's Strongest Man, his Limitless giving him serious attack and defensive capabilities, but in terms of skill, he also easily ranks as among the best. As Word of God confirms, he easily masters many abilities. His incredible prowess with his sorcery is also owned in part due to his Six Eyes granting him nearly flawless control over his cursed energy, meaning even those who are in a way more powerful than him like Yuta still won't be able to defeat him because his skill with cursed energy is potentially unmatched. He is also extremely skilled in close combat with his flawless cursed energy control to reinforce him. In the end, his only loss as for now is due to his high-level enemies using advantages against him and even then only a surprise attack does the job as he still easily counters anything they can try.
    • Ryoumen Sukuna, the other top contender for the title of World's Strongest Man, likewise possesses overwhelming levels of strength with many super-powerful abilities and he's had years of experience fighting and killing Jujutsu sorcerers back in his time to give him massive sorcery prowess that mark him as The Archmage, along with also being a Lightning Bruiser with great fighting skills. Even in an extremely weakened state, the only guy who beat him was Satoru and when faced against a Special-Grade Curse having a portion of his power that shouldn't be that far behind considering at that time he only had a finger of his own, he still easily annihilates it, even stating that he isn't regarded as the greatest just because he has the greatest power but also because he knows how to use that power effectively as he utterly shrugs off anything the enemy could try before easily killing it, and even faced with an opponent of surprisingly unfamiliar skills after having used a rather draining skill, he still quite easily beats down Megumi, breaking down his technique just moments after seeing it. Not to mention that after acquiring a remarkably great amount of his power back, he not only utterly trashes Jogo, an absolute nightmare who can easily dispatch even Grade 1 Sorcerers, but he is able to defeat Mahoraga, a Shikigami that can't be defeated even by Gojo's ancestor with a similar skill-set, by supplementing his power with his massive skill.
    • That said, when it comes to purely physical combat skill, Toji Fushiguro held that title. He was the first person to ever completely escape Cursed Energy, granting him nightmarish superhuman prowess, and he earns the title Sorcerer Killer because even without any Cursed Technique, his combat skills are more than enough to slaughter sorcerers. Extremely adept in both armed and unarmed combat, with a spear capable of negating any cursed technique, he not only curb-stomps an immature Gojo, but even when Gojo starts to truly become the strongest, he still puts up a hell of fight, putting Gojo through a hell of a ringer and ultimately requiring Gojo to pull off a technique no one else knew to take him down, along with also handing the Gojo-level Suguru his ass on a silver platter. When he's briefly revived, he single-handedly takes down a Special Grade Cursed Spirit that 3 powerful and skilled jujutsu sorcerers can barely match, completely beats down a Grade 1 Sorcerer, and after nearly killing his own son, who is a prodigious sorcerer, he only dies because he willingly chooses death over killing his child. Indeed, virtually his entire clan, all of them having remarkable strength despite their elitist views, fear him and recognize he could have killed them all, but chose not to.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Hayato Furinji is known in the martial arts world as "The Invincible Superman". He can punch so fast that even when high speed cameras slow down his punches by 3000 times, his punches are still barely visible. And it just gets more insane from there.
  • Kingdom:
    • Houken of Zhao is undoubtedly the most skilled warrior in the series, being a path-seeker who devoted himself to training. He is also monstrously strong and durable, capable of single-handedly turning a war. At his full strength, no single character in the series stands a chance against him. However, he has a crippling weakness — his mental fortitude is terrible, and the minute things go against his expectations, he begins to crumble. This costs him his first battle with Ouki, and eventually gets him killed by Shin.
    • Kanmei of Chu also held claim to this title, having destroyed the strongest of Qin's Six Great Generals with one swing when he was just a young soldier starting out. He makes the mistake of attacking Mouten, and his even duel with Moubu turns deadly.
    • Moubu of Qin has the best claim to this title at the moment, with Houken's death and Kanmei being killed at his hands. He is brute-force incarnate, but fully capable of tempering it with strategy as required. Mostly, though, swathes of enemies just get pulped by his basic swings.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sägebrecht was the strongest mage of the Ancient Belkan Era, and was known as the "Queen deemed second to none in combat" when she was alive.
    • Sieglinde Jeremiah is referred to as the strongest teenage girl of all dimensions, and has never lost a single match in the Inter-Mid tournaments.note 
    • This trope is discussed in a chapter in the StrikerS manga, with the question of "Who is the strongest in Riot Force 6?" with Nanoha, Fate, Hayate, Vita, and Signum as candidates for the title. Hayate disqualifies herself because despite being an SS ranked mage, making her the most powerful in terms of mana reserves, she suffers from only being able to use nuke-tier spells that have long cast times and she isn't proficient in melee combat either. She even admits that Caro, without access to her dragon summons, would probably beat her in a straight fight because of Nanoha's training. Vita and Signum both discuss the factors that affect "combat strength". and Nanoha simply gave the Koan "To win against an opponent stronger than yourself, you must not be weaker than that opponent." In the end, no definite answer was given.
  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!: Momoyo is this, especially in the manga and anime adaptations. She is acknowledged as the "Goddess of War" who stands head and shoulders over just about any other fighter. Although the games do have others who could conceivably challenge her appear, the other adaptations often end long before their debut.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans has these two One-Man Armies contenders.
    • Mikazuki Augus. A lifetime of fighting, three Alaya Vijnana implants and one Gundam Barbatos (plus two Mid Season Upgrades) later, and he's one of the top Ace Pilots in the solar system.
    • McGillis Fareed has Mikazuki's piloting skills combined with an intelligent and tactical mind. In his first skirmish with Mikazuki, he's able to quickly analyze Mikazuki's fighting strategy and fight evenly with Barbatos in only his Schwalbe Graze. After getting Gundam Bael, he's able to tear through opponents equipped with stronger weaponry while he himself is only wielding two swords. Vidar had to get an Alaya Vijnana Type-E implant in order to come close to matching him and in their first fight, he only gets a leg up because of a hand injury McGillis suffered prior to the battle. In their second battle, Rustal has to throw all his other mobile suits at McGillis first to wear him down before sending Gaelio in to finish him off, and even then McGillis is still able to end the fight in a draw. Lord knows what the outcome would be if he and Mikazuki fought against each other with their Gundams, as they spend the latter half of the series on the same side.
  • Naruto:
    • The strongest being in the world was far and away Princess Kaguya, the first chakra user, and mother of the Sage of Six Paths. However, that is only in pure power — she absolutely had no combat experience. As far as warriors go back in those times, originally it was the Sage of Six Paths and/or his brother Hamura that had claim to the title. Near the end of the series, it's a toss-up between Naruto and Sasuke, though it's safe to say that they're equal. Their final battle ended with each of them losing an arm. While objectively this was a draw, Sasuke deems himself the loser. Years later it's shown that losing their dominant arms didn't actually slow them down at all; Naruto got a bio-engineered prosthetic replacement while Sasuke manifests a Susanoo arm whenever he needs more than one hand.
    • Before Naruto and Sasuke, the First Hokage, Hashirama Senju, and the former Uchiha clan leader, Madara, were considered to be this. Hashirama was considered to be the strongest shinobi in the world and possessed enough chakra to rival a Tailed Beast. When Madara was resurrected, he had a wide range of rare and powerful abilities. He was considered to be so powerful, even the mangaka himself had no idea how to defeat him.
    • In the villages proper, the best warrior is its Kage, though there have been exceptions. Sunagakure no Sato, for example, regarded their Third Kazekage as the greatest shinobi Suna had ever produced, and his disappearance during the Third Great Shinobi War was a great mystery even to the present timeline. As it turned out, Sasori of the Red Sands, a rogue shinobi from Suna and one of the main villains as a member of the Akatsuki, was the one to kill him — making him the greatest shinobi in Suna's history. This has some fair justification, as it was outright stated that Sasori could have won the fight that killed him, but chose to die anyway.
    • Might Guy is flat-out the best taijutsu user in the entire series, and one of the strongest ninja in the world in general. No less than Madara Uchiha calls him this, and this was after Madara had absorbed the Ten-Tails and had become its Jinchuriki, making him one of, if not the strongest shinobi in history. When Guy threw open the Eighth Gate, he damn near killed Madara. Guy became the only person other than Hashirama that Madara ever recognized as a Worthy Opponent.
  • One-Punch Man has several examples:
    • The titular character, Saitama is himself the World's Strongest Man. He is indestructible and has never lost a fight. Saitama is so unnaturally strong that almost all monsters get killed by a single punch and he is not even trying.
    • Lord Boros. One of the few monsters who can actually endure hits from Saitama. He is capable of destroying entire planets and is the conqueror of the universe. Yet he is no match for Saitama.
    • Bang, the third-ranked S Class hero and one of the few individuals who is aware of Saitama is himself this. He is a practitioner of the Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist martial art. Bang does admit that Saitama is on another level in terms of power. His elder brother, Bomb also qualifies as this.
    • S-Class Rank 7 Hero, King is viewed as this by everyone in-universe. He has never lost a battle with a monster, ever, and scares opponents to death just by glaring at them. He has also never fought a monster, since he is just a baseline human cowardly otaku lucky enough and intimidating enough that things just work out in his favor. Most of his feats are actually Saitama's kills misattributed to him. He is also the only person in-universe to defeat Saitama effortlessly in all their bouts in video games.
    • Garō, Bang's former disciple eventually turns into this. Not only has he incorporated the fighting styles of all heroes, he has even defeated several S Class and A Class heroes as well as Dragon Class and Demon Class monsters simultaneously. In his most powerful form, he can even endure several hits from Saitama himself. Of course, he is still no match for Saitama...
  • One Piece: There are many candidates for the strongest in the verse, but so far, we have these:
    • Edward "Whitebeard" Newgate: Explicitly called the World's Strongest Man, and for good reason: His Devil Fruit power, the Tremor-Tremor Fruit, can create giant earthquakes and tsunamis, and in a world mostly filled with water, it means giant disaster. Sengoku even notes that this power can potentially destroy the world itself. Aside from that, his natural physical strength is immense, being capable of stopping an attack from a giant warrior with one hand. It's also said that the Whitebeard we see nowadays is far from his prime, being an old man who needs constant medical attention with IV drips outside of combat. That we saw.
    • Kaido "of the Beasts," one of the Four Emperors as Whitebeard above, is called the "strongest creature in the world". It either implies that he's inhuman (he's seemingly an Oni), or that he really is the strongest person since the revelation comes long after Whitebeard's death. He's also described as being incapable of dying no matter how hard he tries.
    • Dracule "Hawkeye" Mihawk is the world's greatest swordsman. Zoro aims to surpass him, and Mihawk thinks Zoro is the first person in years who might have the potential to pull it off. He's looking forward to Zoro getting good enough to be a challenge.
    • Within the high-ranking Marines, there are a few characters who are considered this. Anyone who holds or has held the position of Admiral is considered the strongest force that the World Government has to offer. There's also Luffy's grandfather, Garp, who cornered the Pirate King Gol D. Roger on numerous occasions. It's been revealed that he's been offered the promotion to Admiral multiple times, and has turned them all down. In fact, it's heavily implied that Garp was the strongest Marine next to Fleet Admiral Sengoku himself prior to both their retirements.
    • Captain Sentomaru of the Marines claims to have "the strongest defense in the world," and it shows: None of Luffy's attacks could harm him. Particularly because he's a skilled Haki user.
  • In Pokémon Journeys: The Series, Galar Champion Leon is an Adaptational Badass who's established to be the strongest Trainer in the world, having never lost a match and surpassing even the stronger Champions like Steven and Cynthia (both of whom lost to Ash). The climax of the series is Ash's final battle against him in the World Coronation Series which he wins, making Ash Ketchum the very best, like no one ever was.
  • The Prince of Tennis: Several characters are considered some of the best tennis players in the series (Tezuka, Yukimura, Ryoma), but ultimately the title falls to Ryoma's father Nanjiroh.
  • The eponymous Rain from the fantasy manga series Rain has this reputation. It's well earned too; he excels in strategy, swordsmanship, magic, and raw physical might. He jokingly admits that the only thing he can't do is dance.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
  • Sword Art Online: The "Mother's Rosario" arc ends with swarms of players from all races in ALfheim Online converging on the island where Yuuki lies dying to send her off, and Asuna explains that it's because everyone recognizes her as "the strongest swordsman" in ALO. It's zig-zagging somewhat, though: while she defeated Kirito fairly in two one-on-one duels, astute observers on both sides of the Fourth Wall note that Kirito wasn't fighting all-out, since he never drew his second sword. Kirito says he still would've lost. The author says that Kirito could've won if he used Holy Sword Excalibur (which he possesses but made an oath not to use for personal gain), but not when using equal equipment.
  • Time Stop Brave: Swordmaster Leafa Colby constantly boasts that she is the greatest swordfighter in history and is unbeatable. From what we have seen, she is indeed supremely skilled and incredibly fast and strong for her size. The only person whom she admits she cannot defeat is Kuzuno Sekai, who can freeze time, which nobody can counter. Even then, she is fast enough to hit him before his time freeze activates.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Kishou Arima is widely acknowledged as the most skilled CCG investigator there is, undefeated in battle and is even nicknamed the CCG's "reaper." Two of the most powerful ghouls in the setting can't even so much as land a hit on him.
  • Toriko: In a world where eating is Serious Business, the three Disciples of Acacia — Ichiryu, Jirou, and Midora — are widely considered to be the apex predators. After defeating Ichiryu, Midora is currently at the top. Even Jirou believes that he is no longer a match for Midora. Toriko believes that Midora could easily destroy the world if he felt like it.
  • Vinland Saga: Thors, "The Troll of Jom". In the Jomsvikings, a Badass Army working on Asskicking Leads to Leadership, he worked his way up from nobody to captain on skill alone and became second-in-command. He was able to One Hit KO Thorkell, and in his one fight scene he defeats a boatload of armed veteran raiders bare-handed and without killing a single one of them, before handily beating Askeladd (who can split a man's skull through his helmet and claims to have been able to beat 50 men single-handedly) for an encore.
  • Yona of the Dawn: Deuteragonist Son Hak is the best warrior in all of Kouka Kingdom and quite possibly the entire series. He's able to fight right alongside the super-powered dragon warriors and does so well enough to impress even them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Each series's main character is this. Yugi, Jaden, Yusei and Yuma may have their records besmirched with a loss or two, but overall they can and will defeat anyone.
    • Taken to the extreme by Yugi, who is still considered the greatest duelist ever by the time of 5Ds.
    • In Yuma's case, this is especially the case when they fuse into ZeXal; they are considered the strongest duelist easily. Further, in the Grand Finale, Yuma beats Astral by himself, making him this trope as Astral was the strongest duelist after regaining all of his memories.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V case, the greatest warrior isn't the protagonist Yuya but the Big Good, Ray who beat Big Bad Zarc twice.

    Comic Books 
  • Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl and daughter of Lady Shiva (see below), is sometimes shown to be even more dangerous than her mother, especially due to having Batman and Oracle train her in other tactics than just brute force, and her ability to read her foes before they act. In Detective Comics (Rebirth), Batman flat-out tells Batwoman that if the two of them were ever to fight for real, Cassandra would certainly win. Ulysses Armstrong later refers to her as "the greatest fighter of the modern age."
  • Batman, Memetic Badass that he is, can supposedly defeat anyone with "enough prep time". As such, he's the second form of this trope, at least within his own franchise. It's a bit questionable in the DC Universe as a whole.
  • Black Canary: While certainly a step below Lady Shiva, Cassandra Cain, and Richard Dragon (though she could certainly survive a direct confrontation with any of the three without resorting to her abilities if she absolutely had to), she is, along with Batman, Bronze Tiger, Conner Hawke, and possibly Catman, up there as one of the absolute best non-augmented combatants in the mainline DCU. While she does have a gigantic innate advantage by way of her abilities, she refuses to use them in straight fights. Lady Shiva also sees Canary as one of the best contenders for surpassing her, and tried to groom her into following in her footsteps.
  • Catwoman rivals Batman in this department, with her thieving skills and combat abilities, she is considered the best fighter outside the Bat-Family.
  • Captain America is the trope picture for One-Man Army for a reason. He's known in comics as a brilliant fighter, strategist, and soldier to the point that even if he isn't the one to deliver the final blow, his people will win. Furthermore, his Project Rebirth enhancements allow him to have a place as one of the greatest warriors allowing Iron Fist with his Chi abilities and Shang-Chi with his sheer skill to distinguish themselves.
  • Marvin in the Dungeon universe is considered the strongest warrior in the dungeon and in Dungeon: The Early Years we see he was already a threat since he was a child. Red Marvin tries to live up to his idol's name in Dungeon Twilight with varying success since being a rabbit gives him a disadvantage in raw strength (and he is not particularly smart to fight intelligently). However, he has a good win ratio over the Big Bad and his army. He also showed a 6 feet tall dragon that while their 8 feet tall master might have kicked his ass, he can destroy anyone else (demonstrated by tying the apprentice's tongue to its own tail with zero effort).
  • Gamora has earned the title of "The Deadliest Woman In The Galaxy" with her skill at combat and killing often being shown and acknowledged by friend and foe alike.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Big Bad Sinestro of the franchise is a fair contender for the greatest Lantern, and best warrior, of all time. Hal Jordan is the only one on his level, for power if not precision, with Sinestro demonstrating on multiple occasions that he's still capable of teaching his old protege a few tricks. He considers himself the embodiment and supreme master of Fear, and given that he successfully formed his own Fear-powered Lantern Corps, equalling the Green Lanterns (who were formed by the immortal and cosmically powerful Guardians of the Universe), as well as being capable of keeping Parallax, the literal embodiment of Fear, on a leash, he's arguably not wrong.
    • As for Hal, he takes up the mantle of "greatest Green Lantern", being capable of little things like taking on General Zod under two yellow suns, after Zod had comfortably been a small army of Lanterns to a pulp, and utterly curbstomped him. Sinestro tacitly admitting on more than one occasion that Hal is his only equal, even considering him to be the embodiment of Will as he is the embodiment of Fear. Given that Sinestro was wielding Parallax and draining fear across the universe, while Hal was metamorphosing into a being composed of pure Will, he had a point. The resultant battle destroyed the entire planet they were on, while Hal would Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, then forged a Green Lantern Ring out of his own willpower, an act that rippled across the Emotional Spectrum. The initial reaction was astonishment, because that was supposed to impossible for anyone who wasn't a Guardian. Then, Ganthet, one of those Guardians, just said in amusement that he was surprised it had taken Hal this long to prove them wrong.
      • It's also notable that Hal's Will has been strong enough to repeatedly bring him back from the dead, and to retain the will after death to reanimate as a Black Lantern and puppeteer Nekron, a Cosmic Entity of truly ridiculous power. At most, all he's needed is a helping hand to reanimate from the essence left in his self-created ring.
    • Kyle Rayner a.k.a. the Torchbearer a.k.a. Ion a.k.a. the White Lantern. For a long time, he was the only Green Lantern, and while he was initially less The Chosen One, more the "you will have to do" (that's quite literally what Ganthet said to him when giving him the ring), he successfully reignited the Central Battery, resurrected the Guardians of the Universe, and restarted the Lantern Corps. While he doesn't have the skill of Sinestro, the raw willpower of Hal Jordan, or the experience of either, he is unique in his creativity and ability to stretch the capacity of the Ring, having on multiple occasions subconsciously created sentient constructs.
      • And with the exception of Volthoom, the First Lantern, he's the only person to successfully wield all seven forms of Light - and unlike Volthoom, he actually mastered them to become the White Lantern, rather than being mastered by them and becoming a complete nutcase. Then, he saved the universe by merging with the Source to restore the Light Reservoir, and promptly re-emerged with the Life Equation, with which he eventually started a White Lantern Corps. It's not for nothing that Hal explicitly states that while he's the Greatest Green Lantern and has the edge in Will, Kyle is the Greatest Lantern full-stop.
  • Groo the Wanderer faced many of these until he distinguished himself by being so quick with the blade, and quick to anger, that he could slay whole armies before he realized what he was doing. He's also distinguished for having this might at the cost of intelligence, looks, hygiene, and table manners.
  • Iron Fist and Shang-Chi are considered the best martial artists in the Marvel Universe, with the two being relatively equal. Both have held their own against the likes of Captain America, Wolverine, Deadpool and Spider-Man.
  • Lady Shiva is the first form of this trope. In terms of pure skill, she is practically unmatched in The DCU. In a fair duel, Shiva can defeat anyone, with only her Rival Richard Dragon and her own daughter demonstrating any actual potential to defeat her, though Batman, Bronze Tiger, Black Canary, and possibly Conner Hawke and/or Catman are all capable of fighting on par with her, though none of them will attempt it unless they absolutely have to. However, seeing as she lives in the DC Universe, under some writers she doesn't stand a chance against a Superpower Lottery (though in other comics she takes down supers such as Killer Croc and Supergirl with ease), and whenever a hero is forced to fight her, they typically use an Outside-the-Box Tactic to soften her up first or defeat her outright. These tactics never work for long, however.
  • The Metabarons are an entire family of the universe's ultimate warrior as the son kills the father and takes his title. A Metabaron often starts their training by killing 20,000 supermax prisoners a day and one Metabaron even defeats an entire universe at the decree of the Emporeress.
  • Thor is repeatedly stated to be "Asgard's Greatest Warrior," and this may extend to the rest of the Marvel Universe, as well. He's been in more battles than most mortals have ever even heard of.
  • Scott Pilgrim is revered for being the best fighter in the province. Despite this, he's still a pretty ordinary if not somewhat clueless guy. Furthermore, he also knows his limitations or knows when the odds aren't even, such as refusing to fight 4th evil-ex Roxie because she was armed with a sword and he was bare-handed.
  • Shazam! was considered this in his original publication in Fawcett Comics. After being acquired by DC Comics, however, he is generally considered one of the best, but has competition from his peers.
  • Spider-Man: In much the same vein as Batman above or Wolverine below, Spider-Man himself has a reputation for having gone up against some of the heaviest hitters in his home universe (the Hulk being the tip of the iceberg) and coming out alive each and every time. His Spider-Sense gives him a massive advantage on the battlefield when combined with his amazing acrobatics skills, supergenius-level quick thinking and the Way of the Spider martial art he developed. A martial art which has been commended by Iron Fist, himself a candidate for Marvel's greatest martial artist. Even Wolverine has stated he wouldn't want to fight Spider-Man in a serious bout. In fact, an alternate version of Wolverine puts it perhaps best;
    Punisher: Spider-Man must have broken out of his cage.
    Reed Richards: No. That's impossible. He's not nearly strong enough.
    Wolverine: Spider-Man isn't the toughest or fastest hero, but he's fought everyone from the FF to the Hulk and no-one's ever squashed this bug. He always finds a way to win. Always.
  • Superman:
    • Played with regarding Superman himself. Clark may be considered Earth's "champion" and "protector", but he's not a warrior by nature. He has no desire to fight or use violence, and his focus is on performing good works, rather than battle or destruction. After all, he's the son of both scientists and farmers. Many people In-Universe, however, mistake him for this trope. And he definitely has the sheer power, speed, and list of secondary abilities to be this, as well as tutors ranging from Wonder Woman to Batman. Superman may not be a born fighter, but give him no choice and he'll show how easy it is for him to slide into the role.
    • General Zod is typically considered this, amongst Kryptonians.
    • Maxima is the queen, and best warrior, on her home planet of Almerac, and that's why she wants Superman as a mate.
    • Many Superman villains are top warriors in whatever respective cultures (alien worlds, mythology and legend, parallel dimensions) they come from and challenge Superman to prove their superiority.
  • Val Armorr, the Karate Kid, qualifies as the Galaxy's Best Warrior during the 31st century. Despite his lack of powers, Val has mastered every martial art in the known universe, including the alien ones. He and his master combined aspects of those martial arts specifically to design a super martial art that allowed normal people to fight superhuman opponents and win. Val was so proficient in the style he could hold his own against Silver Age Superboy and routinely defeated similarly powerful opponents.
  • Wolverine (whose catchphrase is seen up top) is one of the greatest fighters in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine is kind of a hybrid of the two types in that he's not the best soldier (that would be Captain America), he's not the best fighter (that's split between Iron Fist and Shang-Chi), he's not the World's Strongest Man (that's usually the Hulk) and he's not a Person of Mass Destruction or Physical God. However, his healing factor makes him an Implacable Man, and he is good enough to make a challenging opponent for all the proceeding examples, giving him a reputation as the world's most dangerous man.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Diana zig-zags between both forms of the trope. She's certainly the greatest warrior amongst the Amazons and one of the top-tier fighters in the Justice League, although some characters have been shown to defeat her in pure skill. However, she's also demonstrated that if she gets serious and trains enough, she can match anything anyone can throw at her, and combined with her strength and other abilities, she can go toe-to-toe with guys like Superman.
    • Artemis is considered the best warrior the Bana-Mighdall ever produced.
    • Before Diana was born, her mother Hippolyta was viewed as this having defeated Hercules simply by being the superior fighter.

    Fan Works 
  • Children of Remnant: Pyrrha, the Eagle, is the Sword of the Grimm, a One-Woman Army who can slaughter hordes of Grimm on her own. She is repeatedly stated to be the second strongest fighter in the world—the first being her mother, the immortal Queen of the Grimm who is literally invincible... and the Claimed each privately note that Pyrrha might actually be stronger. One of Pyrrha's biggest problems in the fic is that Jaune desperately wants peace, meaning her ability to kill everything in his path is not particularly useful.
  • In The Dark Side of the Mirror Verse, Mirror Gilda is Captain of the Royal Guard and repeatedly called Equestria's best warrior. Out of all of Firebolts, their leader, Mirror Spitfire, is the only one who can actually do a thing against her. This comes from a mixture of special training and an attempt to boost her immune system supercharged by Starlight Glimmer's Magic Surge turning it into a "boost everything" spell.
  • The Heroes/Twilight crossover "Dark Days" places emphasis on Peter Petrelli developing his use of his powers as he works with the Cullens (now including a vamped Elle Bishop) to find his missing lover Bella Swan after the fight with Sylar ended with Peter and Bella believing the other was dead. Learning about the scope of Peter's abilities, Emmett jokes that he'd be interested in having a fight with Peter at some point to see what he can do. Subsequent events see the cast not only forced to prevent an outbreak of the Shanti virus that infects vampires, but also deal with the existence of vampires and evolved humans being revealed to the President by Peter's brother Nathan. Ultimately, Peter uses his range of powers to help establish a system where the human race will gradually become aware of the evolved humans and others in their midst, culminating in Emmett declaring that as far as he's concerned Peter's proven himself the most powerful of them all.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: The Avatar, as referred to multiple times:
    • From "Frenzied Fortification": Trying to soften the blow of not following his advice:
      "Lord Avatar, you are a peerless warrior, and I greatly value your assistance, even in limited form." [...] "Nevertheless - and with no disrespect intended - neither you or the Light have a convincing track record when it comes to conducting campaigns." He was speaking hesitantly, as if every word was costing him greatly, and his eyes were on the ground before him.
    • From "Surface Battle, Part 2": Multiple times, from Cathy:
      • At the start of the fight:
        Yeah, challenge the greatest warrior of the world to a fight, she reproached herself.
      • Thinking on how she's losing the fight:
        He might be the best fighter in the world while she probably didn't even rank among the top thousand, but she was stronger and faster than him! Hell, they were trading blows so quickly that she had trouble reacting to them, even with the all-around boosts that Mercury's enchantments provided. How was he doing it?
        Experience. Had to be. He could read her body's movements and pick an appropriate response even before she struck. Could she exploit that, do something unexpected and trick him that way?
  • Invoked in Interventions, when Nikki informs Willow that Sylar is potentially more powerful than Peter; Spike immediately slams his head against the steering wheel at that news as he speculates on just how screwed they are facing someone that powerful.
  • One Thousand Days: Nagi, by far. There is no one in the Maken Ki universe who comes close to rivaling his full strength and the only way he could be defeated is through the use of an overpowered Maken.
  • In Thousand Shinji, Asuka is the world's master of physical combat and eventually becomes the Goddess of War.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse), After his training, Oliver is on par with Ra's al Ghul when it comes to non-powered fighting, and they make up the top two Warriors in the World. When confronting them Amanda states that Oliver is the best Warrior the League has ever had that never was a Demon's Head, making him one of the best Warriors ever. Barry, Kara and Nyssa round out the top 5 thanks to their intense training. With her Combo Platter Powers, Kara herself is far and away this trope for the series as a whole.
  • In Traveler, Cynthia is acknowledged as the most skilled Pokémon Master in the world, though Lance is considered the strongest. One of the reasons Cynthia is considered the most skilled is because, unlike almost every other Master, she doesn't specialize in a single Type. According to Ash, generalists are almost unheard of at the highest levels of Pokémon Trainers due to the sheer difficulty of mastering multiple Types.
  • In A Young Woman's Political Record, Tanya von Degurechaff is agreed upon by both Germanian and foreign mage officers to be the absolute gold standard of aerial mage combat.
    "Put an orb in her hands and she's the best in the world. [...] Anyone else, the devil was head and shoulders above. Man amongst boys, like."

    Films — Animated 
  • In Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the Big Bad Wolf is the strongest and most skilled fighter, easily besting Puss himself in their first encounter to the point that the cat tries to retire and live as a normal pet. Part of Puss' Character Development involves gaining the will to stand up to the wolf despite knowing he stands no chance of winning a one-on-one duel. Later on, it’s revealed that he’s no mere wolf- he’s actually Death himself, so fed up with Puss' arrogance that he wants to claim his last life himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Enemy at the Gates is Based on a True Story of Visily, an ace sniper that became a propaganda hero, and his duel against his German counterpart (who was not real).
  • John Wick: Let's put this is perspective. Our protagonist John has mowed his way through entire criminal empires, overwhelmed the best assassins, got the better of men at least twice his size, is skilled with any weapon or plain object with which he can kill, can dance-fight a foe into an inescapable grapple, has a near flawless gift for landing headshots and fighting the entire assassin/criminal underworld is considered an even matchup...and this is him after five years of inactivity.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe, composed of many worlds and organizations as it is, has many candidates for the title of the best fighter.
    • Thor is the greatest warrior among the god-like Asgardians after Odin has retired and probably the best warrior in the universe, with millennium of training and combat experience paired with tremendous power. In both physical strength and destructive capacity he's very close to the top of his universe, and earns his title as World's Best Warrior due to the few who surpass him in one area (e.g. Hulk has more raw strength, Scarlet Witch has potentially more powerful and destructive magic) being dwarfed by him in another (e.g. Hulk can't fly, shoot energy blasts, or fight with better instincts than a half-mad gorilla, and Scarlet Witch is a pure Squishy Wizard to Thor's Lightning Bruiser Magic Knight). He quickly establishes himself as the best fighter among the Avengers, twice handling the stronger Hulk with superior combat prowess and versatility while himself holding back. He's usually unfazed by the big fighting he and his friends get into and takes down the most amount of enemies. In his first film he defeats the Destroyer in seconds, who Sif and the Warriors Three (the greatest warriors in Asgard outside of the royal family) can't beat together, and curb-stomps his brother Loki (a powerful fighter in his own right) when he stops holding back. In his second film he one-shots Malekith, the leader of the Dark Elves, cleaves through half their army, and even defeats Malekith after he boosts himself with an Infinity Stone (however he loses to the much stronger Kurse in a straight fight, though this is partly because he had an ill-suited weapon for the task; Loki does better with a spear than he does with Mjolnir). Thor: Ragnarok at first furthers his reputation by having him defeat the legendary Surtur with ease in his base form. However it then reveals Hela, his older sister who has beaten and killed entire armies of Einhejar and Valkyrie with Odin as the only Asgardian better than her, also exceeds him in both skill and power, but even against her he still put up a strong fight (while everyone else is instantly killed or incapacitated) and with both Odin and Hela dead his title as the greatest Asgardian warrior is currently unchallenged. He accomplishes his greatest feat in Avengers: Infinity War when he shows up on Earth and kills much of Thanos's army by himself, and curb-stomps the Mad Titan (who is physically much stronger than him) in seconds by sticking an uru axe through his chest, though this was only achieved when he caught Thanos by surprise. Even after getting out of shape and not fighting for five years, in Avengers: Endgame, he is able to fight Thanos better than most of his fellow heroes, putting up a decent fight on his own even if he can't replicate his previous performance. After he returns to shape, his fourth film has him single-handedly defeat, with hardly any usage of his godly electrical powers, an entire army that the Guardians of the Galaxy were losing to, and during his fights with Gorr the God Butcher, Thor proves more than a match for him, whereas many gods were killed, Sif got curb-stomped and lost an arm, and even Valkyrie and Jane with Mjolnir giving her his powers struggling against him, forcing him to back off in their first fight, being the only one out of himself, Valkyrie, and Jane AKA Mighty Thor who is able to land solid hits on him directly, and even with a weapon he is ill-suited with, he still goes toe-to-toe with the God Butcher.
    • Another contender is the Mad Titan Thanos himself. Not only infamous and feared for his overwhelmingly superior physical power, Thanos also has millennia of training and combat experience fighting and conquering and killing off half of many species in the universe that grants him terrifying fighting skills, pragmatism and cunning that supplements his strength. In Infinity War, despite having the Infinity Gauntlet, the Mad Titan tends to fight others directly before using the Gauntlet and easily defeats anyone he faces with pure skill and power and whenever he uses the Infinity Gauntlet, he uses the Stones with skill beyond any other user to pull off attacks the heroes can never predict. His best feat is probably crushing both Thor and Hulk in under a minute in the opening scene, though that's partly because Thor didn't have a weapon at the time (having lost Mjolnir and having not yet acquired his axe, Stormbreaker). In Endgame, relying only on his own blade, his 2014 self surpasses the skill of Iron Man, Captain America, and an out of shape Thor together and even disarmed, he takes Thor and Rogers down when they were using Stormbreaker to try and kill him and even defeat the more powerful Captain Marvel by being more skilled and smarter than her. It's only due to his arrogance that Tony outsmarts him and uses the Infinity Stones to kill him. Overall, who takes the title between him and Thor depends on their equipment at the time of the match. They've had four encounters in total,note  each won two of them.
    • The Sorcerer Supreme of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, an ancient organization of sorcerers dedicated to protecting Earth from the dangers of other worlds, is generally considered to be the most skilled sorcerer and fighter among them. True enough, the last holder of the title, the Ancient One, is a 700 years old immortal sorcerer who can deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to an entire group of dangerous former members of the organization and was feared by the group to where they opted to run away at first rather than engage her. Even after the Zealots had also gained the same dark power that she was using to survive for as long as she did, she still manages to trash them around with ease and only loses due to a surprising sneak attack that also took out one of the Zealots that she was moments from killing. Currently, however, the Sorcerer Supreme in charge, Wong, isn't actually the best sorcerer, although he's still among the best. The title belongs to Doctor Strange, who by the Infinity War had grew so skilled that he was able to not only put up a decent fight against Thanos in a Wizard Duel while the Mad Titan used four Infinity Stone, but actually even fight him in close-range better than a fellow hero who should be much more experienced than him. By the time Multiverse of Madness arrives, he is capable of putting up a better fight against Scarlet Witch than almost anyone because he is just that skilled, and an alternate version of Karl Mordo, the main universe counterpart being an extremely skilled sorcerer as well, can't even land a single hit on him in a physical fight while Strange was handcuffed. He is also able to defeat an alternate variant of him who is already a Sorcerer Supreme and has the Darkhold, disarming him successfully and then keeping pace with him before finally ending their duel. Actually, according to the Illuminati, Doctor Strange in any universe has the skill needed to be the best sorcerer and among the greatest threats the universes will ever know.
    • As for regular, non mystical, non supernatural humans, the title of the best warrior on Earth was held initially by Steve Rogers AKA Captain America, specifically stated to be the greatest soldier in history and the leader of the Avengers, being the second best fighter in the Avengers in terms of pure skill apart from naturally Thor, who as a Physical God with decades of fighting experience long before Steve was born cannot possibly be compared to anyone of Earthly origin. He's of course a Super Soldier, but despite the fact it doesn't mean much in a world where beings of not only god-level physical prowess, which is beyond what any human serum or earthly boost could compare to, but also incredulous supernatural powers, through sheer skill, he's defeated not only entire groups of Unskilled, but Strong superhuman enemies, came out on top against other superhumans who ARE Strong and Skilled by his standards, but has even stood up to and beaten those who either have numerous advantages over him or are straight up far more powerful than him,note  With him retired, Bucky Barnes takes the title as the only other remaining Super Soldier with extensive combat training as well as great fighting skills. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he is heads and shoulders above Sam Wilson, the one who was chosen to be Steve's successor, training him to be the next Captain America, and only loses a fight with the opposing super soldiers, Flag Smashers, due to being unaware of their powers, proceeding to deliver Curb Stomp Battles like pamphlets upon them anytime he fights them afterwards. Even while holding back and not trying to kill, he puts up a serious fight against John Walker after he's taken the serum and also has the shield, while unarmed and having none of the weapons he could use against Steve before, and once that is taken away, despite being more battered than him, the fight ends in a matter of seconds as Bucky casually manhandles him and throws him at Sam.
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings introduces another of Earth's contenders; the villainous example of Xu Wenwu. He was a peerless warrior with centuries of experience in combat, conquest and leadership who demonstrated a level of skill, precision and versatility that rivals, if not surpasses the likes of Black Panther, Captain America, Black Widow and Daredevil. Wenwu is the one who discovered and utilized the Ten Rings, a powerful artifact of unknown origin and his skill was so great it was made a legend in modern times, with even his wife Ying Li noting that he was unstoppable in his prime. His first scene establishes him as a One-Man Army who slaughtered the Saljuk army by himself and seize their headquarters for his own. He remained the unquestioned leader of the Ten Rings, decimating forces all across the globe until he practically ruled Earth from the shadows, remaining undetected and unopposed for over a thousand years. The Ten Rings are considered some of the deadliest fighters on Earth, on par with the Black Widows... and they all learned everything they know from him. The movie makes it clear time and again that as talented and well-trained Shang-Chi and Xialing are, they are no match for him. He effortlessly defeats his own son (who himself is a contender for this) in a straight duel and is clearly holding back out of a desire not to hurt him and he casually shrugs at the sight of Ta Lo villagers (ancient and powerful warriors from another dimension with unique supernatural abilities) ready to attack him. Shang-Chi himself has stated the only person to have ever beaten him in a fight was Ying Li herself, and she's from the aforementioned Ta Lo, meaning no one in all of Earth has ever been able to defeat him. It's quite telling that the Iron Gang, one of his oldest and most bitter enemies, waited until he was gone to attack his home, as they likely knew they would have been dead in seconds otherwise. Considering the absolutely brutal Curb-Stomp Battle he delivered to the men he sought out after they killed his wife they were right to be cautious.
  • The NeverEnding Story: Atreyu is called the greatest warrior of his tribe. This causes a murmur when he first appears because the guests of the Ivory Tower were Expecting Someone Taller.
  • Wong Fei Hung in Once Upon a Time in China is so skilled and his reputation so widely known that his clinic frequently is targeted by challengers, such as Master Yen Jer Dong in the first film.
  • Star Wars: In terms of combat skill, there are a few masters of both the Force and physical, primarily Lightsaber, but also other aspects of combat who can qualify.
    • The Chosen One Anakin Skywalker had the potential to become this, along with being the World's Strongest Man. He was the top Ace Pilot, an exceptionally skilled lightsaber duelist, being the undisputed master of Form V with working knowledge of the other lightsaber combat forms as well, and particularly having unparalleled Force powers that could even bring actual gods to heel. Word of God clarifies that Anakin could have defeated Darth Sidious, by Revenge of the Sith, although with superior strength rather than skill, after he's defeated Count Dooku, albeit granted because Dooku wasn't actually fighting to kill and Anakin was in a rage that increased his efficiency, and single-handedly slaughtered much of the Jedi. Alas, while Lucas confirmed that Anakin had the potential to exceed even Yoda and Palpatine's skill, getting Drunk on the Dark Side, while increasing his strength, did not allow him to prevail against Obi-Wan, the other contender for the title of "Galaxy's Best Warrior" status, and his defeat weakened him to where he could no longer reach the full extent of his strength. That said, however, becoming Darth Vader and working with his handicaps did allow him to dramatically improve his skills and grow stronger than he was as a Jedi. He becomes a master of all lightsaber combat forms, incorporating them into his new style, and displays much greater actual skill with the Force than ever, capable of casually handling either a dozen normal mooks or some of the best fighters in the galaxy, even without his lightsaber, and he only ever loses to again Obi-Wan and his own son, who was in a rage at the time while Vader was holding back. In Star Wars Legends Luke goes on to become just as powerful as Anakin could have been, if not more.
    • Grandmaster Yoda is stated by all as the greatest Jedi of his time, if not in history, due to having centuries of experience. His mastery and understanding of the Force was unmatched by virtually any other Jedi and he's the premier master of Form IV, along with having fully mastered all the other lightsaber combat forms as well. He's had a hand in the training of nearly all Jedi, turning them into formidable warriors, and respected and acknowledged by them all, including even the likes of Kenobi and Windu, also among the few contenders of the title, as the best. While he doesn't fight that much, his feats all but live up to this, given that he is the only person to defeat Count Dooku, Mace's equal and the premier master of the dueling-suited Form II, in a fair fight, with Anakin, the only other person to do so, managing it only ever whenever in a rage, and he comes very close to defeating Darth Sidious, the greatest Sith, both with a lightsaber and the Force, and leaving aside indications that he is slightly stronger, Yoda clearly has the edge in terms of pure skill.
    • Mace Windu is acknowledged as being second only to Yoda among the Jedi, being the premier Jedi master of Form VII, a very difficult form to master, along with also being proficient with other forms as well, which is specifically stated to give him a special edge due to having access to many unpredictable superior sword techniques, and among the strongest Force masters in the Order. What truly earns him a position alongside Anakin and Yoda is his ability to defeat Darth Sidious, which no other Jedi but Yoda and Anakin could have done. Although it's zig-zagged by the fact that Palpatine was holding back somewhat so he could goad Anakin into Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
    • Palpatine, A.K.A, Darth Sidious, is the greatest Sith in millennia. Although he's more focused with the Force than a lightsaber, his dueling skills are extremely high for someone of that kind of personality. He straight up murders three powerful members of the Jedi Council, defeats both Darth Maul and Savage Opress, terrifying Siths in their own right, and is only ever surpassed in terms of skill by Yoda and Windu, with Word of God confirming he is the better warrior to Darth Vader (In his diminished state where he can no longer reach the level where he can surpass him) and being backed up by him repeatedly beating Vader into submission.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi is also a reasonable candidate for the title of the most skilled warrior in the galaxy. He's the absolute master of Form III, Soresu, a particularly proficient master of Ataru, and well-versed in numerous other forms as well, and his skills with the Force and strength is also exceptional. Kenobi's mastery is such that he can handily best armies of elites with all his abilities, and he's fought and handled some of the most dangerous enemies in the galaxy, names such as Grievous, (ultimately killing him), Maul, (as a Padawan, he cut him in half. During the Clone Wars they were evenly matched, except for the time where he not only matched Maul, but also Opress and managed to cripple the latter. Their final fight on Tatooine, with Maul still capable of gleefully taking on three Inquisitors at once, had him lure Maul into repeating his murder of Jinn and killing him in about five seconds), Dooku, (he lost pretty handily at their first fight due to a case of Worf Had the Flu, but by the time of their final fight, his skills have grown to match Dooku's at his peak, to where the Count admitted he couldn't have outfought Kenobi and had to rely on superior strength in the Force to gain the upper hand), and above all else, Darth Vader.
      • It's worth noting that he's the only guy to ever beat the infamously unstoppable Vader in a straight fight. In the Continuity Reboot they fought four times: in Revenge of the Sith, he put on a master-class in defensive dueling, steadily leading Vader into a trap and dismembering him with a single strike - and that after giving up several visible openings to kill him. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was initially rusty and terrified and spent most of his time running away while Vader toyed with him. In the second duel in that series, third overall, he had his mojo back, matched Vader, then following a Heroic Second Wind, absolutely destroyed him, even more comprehensively than on Mustafar, obliterating his respirator, carving open his helmet, and leaving him screaming impotently after him. In the fourth and final duel, on the Death Star, he was much older and out of practice, while Vader had finally got the message and fought more cautiously, and he still put up a good fight, before going out on his own terms.
  • The pilots of the eponymous Top Gun Academy are stated to be the best of the best. This culminates in a rivalry between the protagonist, "Maverick" and "Iceman." Although Iceman is awarded the trophy for being the Academy's top graduate, both Commander "Viper" and Maverick's lover (an instructor) state that Maverick is probably better than Iceman due to his use of Outside The Box Tactics and unorthodox maneuvers.
  • Achilles in Troy. This retelling Does In The Wizard by removing his heel-excluded invincibility and just portrays Achilles as so exceptionally skilled that he might as well be.
  • The protagonist of the Undisputed series starts as a boxing champion, but graduates to mixed martial artist by the end of the second film after defeating "The Most Complete Fighter In The World", Yuri Boyka.
  • At the beginning of The Warrior's Way, the protagonist delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to a fighter who is listed in a caption as the best warrior in the world, thereby taking his spot.
  • In his introductory scene, Madmartigan in Willow proclaims himself to be "the greatest swordsman who ever lived". For the first half of the film, he comes across as more of a loudmouthed Action Survivor — then he finally gets his hands on a sword and shows the proof of his boasts, killing three armed attackers in less than ten seconds. He then goes on to win every single fight for the rest of the film, including against a two-headed dragon and the gigantic General Kael. According to the novelisation he trained with the greatest swordmaster alive, who considered him to have exceptional talent.

    Game Books 
  • After the 4th book in Blood Sword, your Warrior has returned from the Land of Dead and slain his archenemy Icon the Ungodly. The experience has transformed him and given him new powers while he returns to a new, flawless body that's missing its old scars and other handicaps but also lacks the permanent improvements you might have had. If he wasn't before, he's now the stuff of legends and capable of competing with beings that are ascending into godhood or were already there.
  • In Lone Wolf, Lone Wolf through self-discovery discovers he can go beyond any Kai Master ever and grow even more powerful. This occurs just shortly after Lone Wolf has become a Kai Grandmaster and already in the ranks of the best Kai Masters in history having slain gods, dark lords, psychic liches and etc. The forces of evil have come to dread Lone Wolf and with good reason.
  • In Way of the Tiger, you are the good ninja Avenger and essentially the best warrior on Orb. In the series, using only bare hands and often in one on one combat, Avenger will have killed the world's deadliest assassin, world's best mage, world's best swordsman and world's best martial artist. Avenger also defeats a team of epic-level evil adventurers, primordial godbeasts, demon princes, giants, efreet, a god-forged golem and etc.
  • In Wizards, Warriors and You, the Warrior is unrivaled in good King Henry's kingdom and implied to be the best in the world. He can singlehandedly vanquish any foe in combat whether it's corrupted legendary Knights of the Round Table to Troll swordsmasters and dragons. Taking on simultaneous enemies isn't a problem either as he mulches a warband of amazons with just his mundane battle axe.

    Literature 
  • In Arn: The Knight Templar: Harald, Arn and Eskil discuss the concept. Harald claims Arn is the greatest swordsman in the world. Arn claims that there were several Templars who were better than him. Harald concedes the point but also states that Arn survived things that killed them. Arn counters that his martial skills had nothing to do with why he survived. Eskil thinks living swordsmen are better than dead ones.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories.
    • John Carter is called the "greatest (or "master") swordsman in two worlds" (Mars and Earth) in The Chessmen of Mars, Llana of Gathol and Swords of Mars. His exploits in the series back up this statement.
    • Solan, an Elite Mook for the Yellow Martians, receives this honor because of John Carter stating (in narration) that Solan was still his better with the sword.
  • In Book of Amber, Benedict is regarded by his family as the greatest warrior who has ever existed. No matter what the weapon, battle or terrain he will beat you. He has also dedicated his immortality (and the power to study military matters by effective trial and error) to become the most experienced military commander who has ever existed, with an intimate understanding of the capabilities and limitations of any fighting force of any size. Benedict is explicitly not invincible, but nobody else could do better in the same position in any form of combat.
  • In the world of Brotherband and its parent series Ranger's Apprentice, this title must go to the Skandian Old Soldier Thorn. He was the premier warrior of Skandia three times running, whereas nobody before or since has done it more than once. During the time of the series, he's become a Handicapped Badass, but still proves that he is every bit as good as, if not better than, any other warrior in close-quarters combat, even definitively beating already-established Master Swordsman Gilan in a sparring match. When it comes to long-range, he's at a disadvantage, but still manages to block dozens of arrows at one point.
  • Conan the Barbarian is wildly considered the most powerful man and the most dangerous warrior in the entire world.
  • The Elric Saga has the Eternal Champion avatar, Elric being known as the greatest current sorcerer in the world and one of the best in history. His manservant also tells him that he and his cousin Yrkoon are the best swordsmen in Melnibone and given that he's never lost a swordfight with anyone once he leaves his kingdom, it's likely he's the best in the world. Certainly with Stormbringer in hand, he's the most unstoppable warrior and has even slain gods.
  • Fate of the Forty Sixth has its Guild soldier admit that Alexander Brukov is the most dangerous and powerful soldier in the world. He never fights, but his presence and ability to talk down foes lead credence to his status.
  • Harry Potter gives three wizards who are head and shoulders above everyone else across the franchise. Chronologically:
    • Albus Dumbledore. According to an in-universe Trading Card, Dumbledore is "considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times" and is The Dreaded to the franchise's two reigning Dark Wizards. Word of God specifically confirms that any one who tries to fight him would find themselves in serious trouble because he's just so good in dueling. His titles are many: Order of Merlin, First Class, and Grand Sorcerer; Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards; Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. He was a brilliant Hogwarts student, prefect, and Head Boy and used magic in ways that one of his teachers had "never seen before." Among other things, he's an accomplished Legilimens and Occlumens; a skilled alchemist who discovered the twelve uses of dragon's blood and worked with Philospher Stone-creator Nicholas Flamel; and a wandlore expert on par with the franchise's legendary wand experts, Ollivander and Gregorovitch. At his prime, he delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle on the likes of Credence Barebone, who was an extraordinarily powerful Obscurial and unstoppable even before he received the 5 years of training he did just to kill him, and overpowers Gellert Grindelwald, the most dangerous dark wizard of the time, when he was armed with the so-called undefeatable Elder Wand. Even in his old age, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, he hands out ass-whoopings like pamphlets: effortlessly defeating four skilled wizards attempting to arrest him, singlehandedly subduing a cadre of Voldemort's Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries, and culminating with him driving Voldemort to retreat after a spectacular duel. Notably, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, even with one arm disabled, he calmly states that Harry shouldn't worry about being attacked as long as he was around him, indicating even with that injury, he would still be more than a match for anything Voldemort could throw, and while delirious from having drunk a potion that showed his worst nightmares, he drives off an entire army of Inferi that Harry was barely able to hold his own against with a single large spell.
    • Gellert Grindelwald. In his youth, he was considered "quite as precociously brilliant as Dumbledore" but was expelled from the Durmstrang Institute at 16 for "twisted experiments." As an adult, Grindelwald terrorized the Wizarding World for many years and, before his defeat, seemed unstoppable outside Dumbledore's personal intervention. Dumbledore would later recount to Harry Potter that he and Grindelwald were "evenly matched" (with the caveat that he was "perhaps a shade more skillful" than Grindelwald). Their duel in 1945 was considered by many the greatest in history. Rita Skeeter, a reporter and historian, regards Grindelwald as one of the most dangerous Dark Wizards of all time, second only to Lord Voldemort. During his debut in the Fantastic Beasts series, he hands out a Curb-Stomp Battle to anyone but Dumbledore who tries to fight him, including the likes of war hero Theseus Scamander, the protagonist Newt Scamander, who has similarly experienced the First World War like his brother, albeit without the same fame as Theseus had, and Tina Goldstein, and even manages to reach a stalemate with Dumbledore himself in the third film, a feat no one else in the series ever manages to do, not even Voldemort, and that's with Dumbledore at his prime, who is not quite as great of a fighter as he was old even with the Elder Wand. Even when faced against a small army, he barely even breaks a sweat as he casually deflects each and every single spell they could throw at him: The only reason he is captured at all in the first film is Newt takes him by surprise just as he is stomping 30 Aurors, taking down scores of them like flies, he effortlessly wipes out 50 Aurors while manipulating just a singularly powerful defensive spell that he turns into an offensive spell before being moments from killing Tina, Newt and Theseus, with Leta being killed by him in an instant so they could escape, and when he is confronted by a group of internationally acclaimed wizards, they're so insignificant he still has the time to look at Dumbledore and declare that he was never his enemy, with it being indicated had Dumbledore not been there, he would have easily killed them all.
    • Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle. The Dreaded of the Wizarding World, so feared that most refuse to speak his name. A twisted prodigy, Riddle was considered "perhaps the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen" whose "knowledge of magic is perhaps more extensive than any wizard alive," by Dumbledore himself. Both he and Rita Skeeter both regard Voldemort as "the most dangerous Dark Wizard of all time" (even moreso than Grindelwald). Before his first defeat, Voldemort: split his soul into an unprecedented seven Horcruxes, effectively becoming immortal; jinxed the Defense Against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts so powerfully that Dumbledore himself was unable to break it; and killed dozens of skilled witches and wizards. Before his final defeat, Voldemort killed legendary Wizarding Badasses like Amelia Bones and Mad-Eye Moody; learned to fly unaided, defying Magical Law; held his own against an Elder Wand-wielding Dumbledore; and, even with his powers critically nerfed in the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he dueled and defeated Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Horace Slughorn at the same time.
  • In The History of the Runestaff, despite being the current avatar of the Eternal Champion Dorian Hawkmoon isn't the greatest warrior though he's not too far off. That honor goes to the mighty Count Brass who at over 60 had stopped a charging bull with his bare hands and Count Brass is as skilled as he is strong and nearly as intelligent.
  • In David Gemmell's Legend, Druss is considered to be the best fighter in the world and has been nicknamed "The Legend" in his own lifetime. He is a master of the double bladed "butterfly" battleaxe and his great strength and long reach makes him a terror on the battlefield. A lifetime of combat experience turned him into a master tactician and during a battle he is able to instinctively determine and execute the most tactically advantageous course of action while in the thick of combat. Even more impressively his two most famous battles, The Battle of Skeln Pass and the Siege of Dros Delnoch, occurred when he was in his fifties and sixties respectively, and he's spent most of both battles on the front lines fighting the enemies' best fighters.

    However, he's also a partial deconstruction. Druss is 60 years old at the time of the novel, and very conscious of the burden of living up to his reputation; he has to fake being indestructible, because age and arthritis and cumulative injuries are all getting to him. He notes in conversation that in the last decade he's fought at least three men who were more skilled than him as fighters — but he beat them anyway, because those men knew that Druss was the best, which gave him a psychological advantage.
  • In The Neverending Story, in addition to Atreyu above, Bastion is considered to be a great warrior on account of being The Chosen One (a human child with limitless imagination, in a world where imagination is power).
  • The Dragon Queen in An Outcast in Another World is so strong that her whims shift international policy, as very few are able or willing to tell her no. The leader of the Elves admits that every leader of every race attacking at once might not be enough to beat her.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: After Tal Hawkins wins the Tournament at the Masters' Court in Rillanon and earning the right to call himself the world's greatest swordsman, his manservant takes him aside and warns him not to let it get to his head. He also points out that while winning the tournament means Tal is very good, there may be dozens of better swordsmen who didn't show up because they couldn't get permission from their employers to go, scores who couldn't afford the trip, and hundreds who have never even heard of Rillanon or the Masters' Court.
  • Lu Bu in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Much of the story is devoted to portraying Guan Yu as a nearly invincible badass, but in an early chapter, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei (also an incredible fighter) together are unable to defeat Lu Bu, and only when Liu Bei joins the fight are they able to drive him off. Many other characters mention how much stronger Lu Bu is than anyone else.
  • Second Apocalypse: Multiple:
    • The Dunyain are warrior-monks who have been bred and conditioned across thousands of years to be nigh-superhuman Genius Bruisers and Lightning Bruisers. Kellhus is the greatest of them all. He fights with computer-like precision, defeating large numbers of "world born" enemies almost effortlessly.
    • Among the "world born", Cnauir is considered the greatest warrior of the Three Seas. In spite of the hatred he receives from his Proud Warrior Race due to having been seduced by a dunyain, none can deny that his body bears far more holy scars, each denoting a kill in battle. He is ferocious in battle, fighting with Unstoppable Rage. At one point he fights as such a One-Man Army that he seems to become an incarnation of the very god of war. He is also a very shrewd strategist and tactician.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Jaime Lannister has a reputation as the best warrior of the current age in Westeros. He's a Master Swordsman and a Blood Knight. Most of his actual skill, however, is an Informed Ability, since the only times we actually see him fight are after he's been severely weakened and/or handicapped. His reputation becomes quite a burden, which furthers his character development.
    • Deconstructed in a number of ways. Old Master Barristan Selmy states that there is no such thing as a "warrior without peer," and that random chance can make even the best warrior fall. Throughout the story, we see many great warriors lose due to overconfidence, bad circumstances, or something as simple as an infected wound.
  • In The Spirit Thief, Den the Warlord is generally considered the most dangerous man in the world. When he made a Face–Heel Turn in the first war against the Immortal Empress, he singlehandedly destroyed the Council Kingdoms' army, and when he's spotted during the second war, swimming alone for the beach, the entire fleet almost pulls back to try and stop him from reaching the shore.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Anakin Skywalker was among the mightiest combatants of the Jedi Order as well as a natural Ace Pilot. His efficacy only grew after he became Darth Vader: he slew countless Jedi in hand-to-hand combat, and after facing him in a training dogfight in Death Star, an Imperial ace remarks in his internal monologue that if he ever had to face Vader for real, he'd just overload his engines and save the Dark Lord the bother.
    • Luke Skywalker is considered the culmination of all the potential his father could have realized if he had not been severely injured on Mustafar. Luke's combat prowess is considered top-notch and his Force mastery is beyond what any Force user has ever been capable of. His lightsaber skills are considered at least on par with the likes of Yoda and Mace Windu. And Luke was constantly finding and inventing new ways to use the Light Side of the Force to either avoid combat or ensure victory.
    • Palpatine is considered the greatest Dark Side user in the history of the Galaxy. He is so powerful that his apprentices considered him a "Black Hole" in the Dark Side, and it was speculated that he had mastered its power so much that he both embodied the will of the Dark Side and that his will became that of the Dark Side itself. His Force powers were rivaled only by Yoda and Luke Skywalker, and Palpatine had the ability to destroy ships miles away in space with no visible effort on his part. His sword skills were so exceptional that he killed two Jedi Masters with barely a thought and held his own against Mace Windu, Yoda and Luke Skywalker.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn is widely considered the greatest battlefield commander the Galactic Empire ever possessed, and one of the best in history, to the point of Lampshade Hanging in Hand of Thrawn: the mere rumor that he has come back from the dead to lead the Imperial Remnant again has the New Republic on edge, which leads the protagonists to scoff that he was never that good (and indeed, while talented, he made several critical errors that ultimately led to his defeat in The Thrawn Trilogy).
    • In X-Wing: Wraith Squadron, the New Meat pilots ask Wes Janson and Wedge Antilles who the best pilot in the galaxy is. Wes notes that Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Imperial Badass Normal ace Soontir Fel all have claims to the title in terms of skill, but he concludes that the only objective way to determine this is total kill count, which makes Wedge, the only pilot to survive both Death Star runs and whose flight crew has to paint his kill silhouettes in squadrons' worth so they'll all fit, the best pilot in galactic history. As confirmed in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Wedge is explicitly not Force-sensitive, and yet through endless hours of experience he has a near-precognitive ability to predict what his target will do next. In later series (particularly The New Rebellion and New Jedi Order), he also shows himself to be a fine battlefield tactician.
  • Sten is, according to the Eternal Emperor, "the best there ever was." Sten would agree, with qualifications. Even at what would be a rather advanced age, he curb stomps a platoon of special forces operatives sent to capture him. "Is it my imagination, or are the new kids not as good as we used to be?" The fleet admiral he says this to, realizing that the new kids are just as good as Mantis has ever been, merely grunts "You've been practicing."
  • Talenelat'Elin from The Stormlight Archive. Millennia of constant battle against the singers have made the ten Heralds peerless warriors, and Taln was the best of them by a substantial margin. In the modern day millennia of torture has left him mostly catatonic, but the one time when he momentarily regains his sanity he moves quickly enough to snatch a pair of poison darts out of the air.
  • Commissar Ciaphas Cain of the Warhammer 40,000 novelverse is considered (by his editor Amberley Vail at least) to be one of the best swordsmen in the sector, "regardless of which sector he's in." The man is a Badass Normal who once fought a Chaos Space Marine to a standstill long enough for his aide to take it out with an anti-tank weapon. He's also a crack shot with his laspistol.
  • Warrior Cats: Lionblaze, whose prophecy power makes him invincible in battle.
  • The Wheel of Time has a couple of candidates. Looking purely at Badass Normals, the greatest is almost certainly al'Lan Mandragoran; at one point, it's explicitly stated that Lan is the best of the Warders, which means he is the best of the best. Taking channelers into account, Rand gives a very good showing and is treated in-universe as a Person of Mass Destruction with the potential to destroy the world; he also gives Lan a run for his money as the greatest swordsman in the world, going up against a half-dozen Master Swordsmen at once for practice and rewarding handsomely anyone who can get a single hit in. The last book puts the Forsaken Demandred handily into the running as well, giving him ample opportunities to show off his role as a Hero Killer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Ra's al Ghul, AKA the Demon's Head and leader of the League of Assassins, held this title for quite some time, being he is the most skilled of an entire organization of world-class assassins and The Dreaded, to where even Oliver Queen and Malcolm Merlyn, all being badasses in their own right, all fear him. He hands the most one-sided defeat that Oliver has ever experienced, and even after Oliver has been trained directly by Ra's himself, he never truly defeats Ra's, with Ra's trouncing him and Nyssa and Oliver only winning their last fight due to him catching Ra's by surprise.
      • Surprisingly, Damien Darhk, despite being hailed as Ra's equal, is portrayed as initially not nearly as skilled as his former friend was. This seems to be primarily due to his magic causing him to lose his edge, as while he is still able to handily beat a rusty Oliver, by the time Oliver gets back in shape, he not only physically beats a magically empowered Darhk, the only reason why Oliver didn't win then being due to Damien screwing fighting melee and using magic, but once Damien is no longer able to use his magic, Oliver wins in a matter of seconds. By the end of his conflict with Oliver, though, he's regained his fighting skills and gives Oliver one of his toughest fights. His past selves, without magic, proves more than a match for Malcolm and Sara in one-on-one fights.
    • Oliver Queen has already been coming a long way since he was just a mere playboy, and he keeps growing in skill up until he finally takes this title quite safely by the time of Season 3 of Arrow, where he killed Ra's al Ghul (and briefly succeeded him as the leader of the League of Assassins). Since then, Oliver has been almost consistently portrayed as the best "normal" combatant in the entire franchise. He's curb-stomped several other "normal" combatants, such as Malcolm Merlyn (another former Ra's al Ghul and someone who curb-stomped Oliver himself in Season 1), with relative ease. He does struggle against end-season enemies, who are tougher than ever, but he still ultimately comes out on top. Those who have gotten the best of him usually lucked into an advantage, such as a distraction or superior firepower. And despite lacking any powers, he is also capable of engaging metahumans, mystical enemies, or other individuals who should have clear advantages over him, and still come out on top. This, along with his experience, is why all superheroes look up to him as the Big Good alongside Barry Allen (who is arguably the most powerful superhero in all of Earth-1).
    • Vandal Savage is quite possibly the top holder of the title. He's an immortal warrior who's been around for centuries longer than Ra's al Ghul himself, and therefore has the greatest amount of fighting experience. He's thus far the only character who delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to Oliver post Season 3, he defeats the entire Team Arrow except Oliver in yet another Curb-Stomp Battle, and throughout the Legends of Tomorrow, he hands nearly all the heroes their asses at some point in a direct fight and it's only when he's distracted or weakened that the team is able to defeat him.
  • Captain America expy Soldier Boy in The Boys was a Super Soldier veteran of every major American conflict between the 1930s and 1980s, and a One-Man Army capable of soloing entire platoons. Even after Homelander usurps the World's Strongest Man title from him, unlike him Soldier Boy had the combat experience to somewhat make up for it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy deems Spike as such during Season 7, which is why she chooses to give Spike the amulet which proves instrumental to their victory against the First. Others consider him as such as well; the demon he approaches to restore his soul in Season 6 describes him as a "legendary dark warrior", and he's gained a lot of Villain Cred for personally tracking down two previous Slayers before Buffy and killing them.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Kabuto: Tendou Souji, the title character, is so much more skillful than every other Rider that the number of opponents who pose a meaningful challenge to him can be counted on one hand. One of those very few opponents is a perfect clone of Tendou himself, which just means it takes more than one episode for Tendou to work out how to beat him.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: Takatora Kureshima/Kamen Rider Zangetsu is by far the most skillful fighter in the series, routinely winning even against much more powerful opponents. When he's betrayed by three of his allies, who all have equally powerful suits to his own, they acknowledge afterward that even with a surprise attack they barely won.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Emu Hojo is recognized as one of the greatest gamers of his time before he became a doctor, which makes him an exceptionally good pick for when a new virus makes video game villains start coming to life by possessing his patients. The only equally good if not better warrior in the series is Parado, his Enemy Without.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Oma Zi-O, the Future Badass version of the title character, possesses all of the combined abilities of every Kamen Rider there is, was, or ever will be, making him functionally omnipotent, and he's a skillful warrior on top of that. When Sougo gets to use the power of Oma Zi-O in the final episode, he curbstomps nearly every Rider villain from the past twenty years in a little under a minute.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In Klingon culture, their legendary savior figure Kahless is renowned as the greatest warrior in Klingon history. That's why, when he miraculously fulfills his prophecy by returning, other Klingons are so eager to fight him to make him prove his legitimacy.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • David and Samson were both unstoppable, Badass Israeli, killing machines. Samson was an Empowered Badass Normal /One-Man Army and David was a Genius Bruiser who would later become the King of Israel.
    • Goliath was the best warrior of the Philistines, until he was killed by David with a single rock and a sling (and divine intervention).
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Heracles/Hercules is the strongest and greatest hero of all of Greek/Roman mythology. However, his myths center largely on feats of monster-slaying and reality-defying strength rather than soldiering.
    • Achilles is commonly considered the best warrior at the time of The Iliad. In some versions of his myth, he's completely invulnerable except for his heel.
  • Hindu Mythology
    • Shiva, the God of Destruction, consistently tops the list, only rivaled by Vishnu, the God in charge of maintaining the universe. Those who wish to become the greatest warriors must pray to Lord Shiva. Heck, Shiva was the God who first invented weapons and warfare as a favor for Vishnu.
    • Among mortals, there are many characters who fit the description. To qualify as one, you had to be accomplished in weapons, especially archery; be capable of slaughtering thousands of soldiers from a moving chariot; become conversant in supernatural weapons and be capable of conquering the entire world. It wasn't uncommon for mortal kings and princes to vanquish the demigods and Asuras and conquer the three worlds (heavens, earth and the nether worlds).
  • Norse Mythology: Thor, once armed with his hammer Mjölnir. Yeah, Odin has a spear that never misses and Freyr has a magical sword of his own. But Thor is considered so powerful with Mjölnir that the gods are positive that the giants can never conquer Asgard, causing Thor, god of order and stability, to stand out among a group of war gods. This tends to be proven as Thor slays every giant who tries to fight him, but with the flip side being the gods tend to panicky whenever Mjölnir goes missing or the giants trick Thor into leaving it at home. Of course, even without it Thor is still one of the top three strongest beings in the universe.
  • The Shahnameh: Rostam is the One-Man Army/Genius Bruiser who regularly kills wild beasts, monsters, multiple foes and seemingly unbeatable challengers and always comes out on top.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted has the Unconquered Sun, King of the Gods and the greatest warrior in all of existence. In a setting filled with nigh-unstoppable Warriors of all stripes and Ungodly Abominations that make Cthulhu look calamari, that's saying something. Although the Solar Exalted (his Chosen) can hypothetically surpass him.
  • Warhammer: Pretty much every faction has an example of an "ultimate warrior" who represents the pinnacle of strength and skill amongst them. This will be reflected in their stats, with a pretty direct way of comparing who the developers think is more powerful being their point value. Of the more notable examples lorewise:
    • Tyrion of the High Elves is considered the best single warrior of his species since the time of Caledor the Conqueror, a One-Man Army and a Master Swordsman without compare. His stats in-game reflect this: his base stats are higher than any generic elf lord can get without magic items, and he can defeat almost every other legendary (and non-monstrous) lord in a duel due to a combination of his own prowess and his powerful magic sword, Sunfang.note 
    • Archaon the Everchosen is the most powerful Chaos Lord of the current generation, and Chaos Warriors live by Asskicking Leads to Leadership: if he wasn't the best warrior around, he wouldn't be in charge. In-game, it's mostly his selection of magic items that makes him so dangerous; his base stat line is very comparable to a generic Chaos Lord's, just with 1 point higher Weapon Skill (which is referenced in the lore; in his journey to become Everchosen it was actually explicitly noted that one of his companions was physically stronger than him, but lost out in the competition anyway due to Archaon's cunning). That said even without his magic he's still a very beefy Magic Knight, as strong and tough as a Troll while being much faster and covered in thick plate armor, a capable (if modest) spellcaster, and wielding a magic BFS that auto-wounds regardless of the enemy's armor. Said magic items include the aforementioned BFS (the Slayer of Kings), the Armour of Morkar (which gives him a 1+ armor save instead of the 4+ armor save given by the standard plate other Chaos Lords wear), the Crown of Domination (inflicts the Terror effect on nearby enemies and inspires nearby allies), and the Eye of Sheerian (which gives him limited precognition of his enemy's blows in a fight; in game terms, it grants a 4+ ward save). In both the Storm of Chaos and the End Times, he roughly drew against the other candidates for this trope in the setting: Sigmar reborn (in both Karl Franz and Valten), Grimgor Ironhide, and Bel'akor.
    • Bel'akor, the Dark Master, is the strongest of the Daemon Princes and one of the most powerful models in the game. In-game he's a high level Magic Knight, a max-level (Level 4) Shadow Wizard with Strength and Toughness ratings on par with dragons, maxed out Weapon Skill and Leadership ratings, and the magic Blade of Shadows that can cut through anything (in game terms, it completely ignores all armor). In the End Times novels he and Archaon had two duels, with Archaon having all of his magical artifacts in the second and all but one in the first. In the first duel Bel'akor won while in the second Archaon won, in both cases in extremely close fights. It should be noted though that Archaon needed to release the daemon sealed in his sword to pull the second win, so Bel'akor definitely surpasses him in individual power.
    • Grimgor Ironhide is the most powerful Orc Warboss of the current timeline; he once single-handedly invaded the Skaven stronghold of Hell Pit by accident simply by following the path of most resistance through some tunnels, carving though an army's worth of Skaven abominations before he got bored and wandered off. In-game he's one of the best dueling lords in the game, especially given his (relatively) low cost. In both the End Times and Storm of Chaos, he engaged Archaon in single combat and was a very close match.
    • Gotrek Gurnisson is the worst Slayer in existence. A Hunter of Monsters beyond compare, Gotrek has killed giants, ogres, dragons and daemons, single-handedly, with nothing more than his trusty ax and a really bad attitude. The fact that he's yet to find something that can kill him really starts to rankle him after a while. It is, however, heavily implied at least part of this is due to his Ancestral Weapon being destined to slay something really big and nasty and won't let Gotrek die until it's reached its goal.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Abaddon the Despoiler is the mightiest warrior on the side of Chaos (who isn't a Daemon or Daemon Primarch). One of the major reasons he is the War-master of Chaos is because no one else is able to take the position from him. That is saying a lot, as a substantial faction of Chaos is one where everyone is a Blood Knight. His constant failures while leading Black Crusades likely inspire even more challengers, yet he defeats them time and time again.
    • It turns out that every one of his first 12 Black Crusades accomplished their goals while distracting everyone into thinking he was bad. The moment things got serious in the 13th Black Crusade he immediately curbstomped the primary target. He now has more than enough strategic prowess to back his monstrous combat talents up.
  • In Weapons of the Gods, a wuxia role-playing game, the greatest warrior ever was Old Man Kuafu the Giant. He's the one to unlock Divine Kung-fu and turn himself into an invincible giant who's more powerful than any god. He would have overthrown the heavens as he curbstomps god after god, but then he ate something he shouldn't and died as a result.

    Video Games 
  • BoxxyQuest: The Shifted Spires: In the second encounter with Caleb, he calls himself "the most powerful warrior on the entire internet! I'm better than ALL of you!"
  • Bug Fables: Maki is the Ant Queen's Royal Blade and the number one ranked Explorer. He shows why he earned that rank throughout the game when he ends up being the only one who makes the Big Bad retreat from an invasion, and his attack as a Guest-Star Party Member turns out to deal much more damage than the main trio's basic attacks. His sparring match in the postgame, where he is joined by his sister and adopted daughter, is fittingly one of the hardest challenges in the game. Stratos and Delilah are revealed to be even stronger than him, but because they are ranked low in the Explorer's Association because they never finish missions.
  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger: Silas plays up John Wesley Hardin as this. While Silas is a stone-cold badass (and by no means averse to making himself look even more badass in his stories), he promptly admits that he was genuinely afraid of Hardin, and that the only reason he ever stood a chance was that he attacked Hardin on his birthday, when Hardin was shit-myself-drunk.
  • Darksiders: Multiple:
    • According to The Abomination Vault, Archangel Abaddon is the greatest angelic warrior ever produced by Heaven. His early death from surprise attack during the premature End War was a massive blow to Heaven's forces that no doubt contributed to their loss along with the fact Abaddon became a Fallen Angel that led Hell's legions on Earth afterwards once he was confronted with the reveal that his decision to prematurely trigger the End War to get an early easy victory for Heaven went to figurative and literal hell.
    • Death is heavily implied to be this due to his status as The Dreaded and the strongest even among the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He shows a greater display of finesse and skill with more weapons than any of his siblings, and in his own game despite being Brought Down to Badass is able to defeat every foe who gets in his way. The only two opponents he shows any signs of struggling to defeat are Samael, a demon prince whose power is on par with the likes of Lucifer, and Absalom, who was the leader of the Nephilim, his older brother, and is now The Corruption that threatens the universe itself with his mere existence.
    • In Darksiders Genesis, a conversation between Strife and War reveals that while Death is the most skilled warrior of the Horsemen, War may be pound-for-pound the strongest: while in the throes of an Unstoppable Rage, it took all three of War's siblings working together to keep him under control.
  • Doom:
    • The Player Character, Doomguy, is considered this for humanity; particularly in the second game, where he singlehandedly stays behind on Earth to allow the rest of humanity to escape into space, and then goes into Hell, defeats the demons' leader, and decides to stay there so that demons can never threaten humanity again.
    • After the reboot in Doomł, there are two Doomguys: the Marine Corporal and the Marine Engineer. Both of them are considered the best hope humanity has for survival.
    • The Ancient Martians also had an analogue to the Doomguy themselves, and was the one who previously defeated the demonic horde. Since it's heavily implied that the Ancient Martians are the ancestors of humanity, it's possible that their champion is a distant ancestor of one or both of the Doomguys.
    • DOOM (2016) skirted around if its Doomguy, now known as the Doom Slayer by demonkind, was the same one as the original continuity or a new one, but DOOM Eternal confirms that he's the exact same Doomguy who's been ripping and tearing his way through every last hellspawn throughout space and time to the point that he's willing to unleash the Dark One just for a chance to utterly murder him.
      Samuel Hayden: The Slayer has no equal.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The Warden is legendary by the time of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Even as early as Awakening, several distressed characters immediately feel that their horribly bleak situations are going to be okay simply because the Warden has shown up. Because of this exalted reputation, s/he was Divine Justinia's first choice to lead the Inquisition. By that point, however, the Warden has disappeared to whereabouts unknown to try and achieve something most believe to be impossible (curing the inevitable corruption every Grey Warden will eventually endure). Every person who knows him/her shows absolutely no doubt that they will find a way to succeed at this seemingly insurmountable task.
    • Thanks to Varric's "Tale of the Champion" novel and other fictional tales, Hawke has the reputation of being perhaps the greatest fighter of their time, and became the second choice to lead the Inquisition. During the events of their own game, Hawke's companions will often remark that s/he is the strongest fighter amongst them with either reverence or fear depending on the player's actions. It should be noted, though, that said game is narrated by Varric and that, given his reputation, some of these tales (but not all) are believed to be embellishments even by other characters within the DA universe. Hawke admits as much when s/he is actually met in the flesh in Inquisition, but they also admit that most of these accomplishments are true but merely not as grandiose as people think. Unlike other heroes of their day (such as the Warden or the Inquisitor), Hawke was not some special person expected to solve a crisis—they accomplished their deeds strictly by skill, talent and blind luck. They also failed at many of their goals.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Sephiroth is truly a Living Legend for this in Final Fantasy VII and the collective Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. The most elite member of the already elite SOLDIER branch of Shinra's private army, he's famous for not only being the greatest swordsman, but also for his incredible strength, blinding speed and ability with magic. According to the creator of the game, Cloud, the one man who's faced him more than once and not only lived, but defeated him, was only ever able to do so due to Sephiroth toying with him on every occasion it happened, ultimately losing due to hubris, with Sephiroth being shown to easily slap Cloud around whenever they duel before his pride get the better of him. (For example, see Advent Children, where Cloud is on the ropes the entire battle and only wins by surprising Sephiroth with his new Omnislash Ver. 5 Limit Break after a Heroic Second Wind.) Indeed, in Final Fantasy VII Remake, Sephiroth goes off to firmly show that he is truly the greatest warrior in the series by holding off the combined efforts of the entire party in a five-on-one fight and walking away without being truly defeated and even remaining confident the entire time, indicating he was still holding back against them, proceeding to easily curb stomp Cloud in the subsequent cutscene, as if to show that Sephiroth could have easily defeated him had he really wanted to go for the kill.
    • The Player Character in Final Fantasy XIV counts in the game's story, being the legendary Warrior of Light who not only is capable of slaying primals with ease, but also leads the charge against the invasive Garlean Empire.
  • FromSoftware have a history of including a warrior with this kind of reputation in their games:
  • God of War: The main character of the series, Kratos, is not only perhaps the most powerful character in the entire series, but he is also the strongest contender for the title of the greatest fighter. He started out as the best of all the battle-hardened and battle-hungry Spartans, exceptionally skilled in all forms of fighting, be it with bare hands or armed, and along with his power, his skill only grows. He is capable of effortlessly taking down entire armies, besting some of Greece's worst monsters and best heroes, including Hercules himself, and massacring the Gods. Even in his old age and on the Nordic lands, Kratos's skill, if anything, has only grown.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Currently, the most skilled Keyblade wielder in the side of the light would be Mickey Mouse. He is a a Keyblade Master with decades of experience and training and has proven to be on another level compared to the others, even those who are also Keyblade Master level like Aqua, Riku, Roxas, Terra, and Sora, being both an extraordinary swordsman and great mage. He tends to take on the greatest amount of odds, such as fighting through armies of Heartless and Nobodies, by himself and easily wins with style while the game shows the other heroes struggling even in groups. Indeed, Kingdom Hearts III shows he is able to fight four Seekers of Darkness by himself, whereas Riku struggles against three, and pushes back Xehanort's Stopza spell a bit before being overpowered by it. In the the Re:Mind DLC for KHIII, he even goes as far as to singlehandedly fight off the 13 Replica Xehanorts in an injured state after all his friends had been put out of comission before finally taking them down with all his power.
    • Master Xehanort was stated to be the best Keyblade Master of them all and even in his old age, he is still an incredibly skilled fighter and magic user who can be the best fighter among the villains, able to give much younger Keyblade Master-level enemies a good run for their money.
  • Halo:
    • Player Character Master Chief John-117, is indisputably this, so much so that the Covenant basically view him as their religion's Antichrist.
    • On the Covenant end, Sangheili/Elite Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee is the finest Covenant flag officer known to UNSC intelligence and a phenomenal fighter himself (while Elites are already physically on par with armored Spartans, Thel is one of the few that can also match them in skill). In Halo 2: Anniversary's terminals, ONI agent Jameson Locke recommends that he be designated as a priority target for assassination. Of course, in the actual game Thel falls from grace for political reasons (indirectly due to John-117's victory in Halo: Combat Evolved) and becomes the Arbiter (in fact, it was only because of his skills that he even got offered that instead of a plain execution).
    • The Didact was leader of the entire Forerunner military for a reason; when he awakens in Halo 4, he proceeds to effortless wipe the floor with the Chief, without even having to touch him.
  • Hitman: Player Character Agent 47 is the world's deadliest assassin. Unusually for this trope, while he's no slouch in a straight-up fight (due to his incredible marksmanship, durability, and reflexes) what truly makes him dangerous is his intelligence — not only is he a Master of Disguise, but he is also capable of turning nearly anything into a weapon. His less successful missions have made him an urban legend and earned him a reputation as the perfect assassin. His most successful missions were never recognized as assassinations at all.
  • Magnus in Kid Icarus: Uprising is the mightiest human swordsman of all time, able to go toe to toe with various underworld monsters and angels like Pit.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby Super Star Ultra has Galacta Knight, the Greatest Warrior in the Galaxy who was sealed in a crystal for being too powerful. Meta Knight (as well as Kirby in a Boss Rush) is capable of beating him, technically making Meta Knight take the spot.
      • Kirby Star Allies gives us Morpho Knight, who on top of having all of Galacta Knight's power and fighting skills (which were directly absorbed from Galacta) also wields power over life and death, serving as some equivalent to a Valkyrie or Grim Reaper in the Kirby universe.
    • Kirby himself might be the ultimate example of this trope. It's gotten to the point where they don't even try to portray him as a scrappy underdog. They just come out right there and say he has goddamn infinite power! It's pretty safe to say that attacking Kirby's friends, Dream Land, Popstar, or all three is the equivalent of having a death wish. It helps that the aforementioned Star Allies heavily implies our favorite pink puffball is an incarnation of Void, which is basically the God of the universe.
  • League of Legends features Jax, a warrior so strong that his lore is essentially a canonical explanation of the Nerf. He possesses the longest win streak of any champion in an arena populated by the most badass warriors in the universe.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals and its remake Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals have Dekar, who proudly boasts that he's the world's strongest warrior. He takes out hordes of monsters by himself without breaking a sweat and saves the hero from dire situations more than a few times. Even when he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save the others, he manages to survive and come back to help the party when they need it the most.
  • Mass Effect:
  • Mega Man: As far as the Classic timeline is concerned, Zero takes this position as of Mega Man Zero. He's no longer the World's Strongest Man by virtue of that body and all its power belonging to Omega since he transferred out of it and using a technically inferior copy body (as well as X's cyber-elf form displaying powers potentially exceeding that of Omega and the Dark Elf despite only being at 1/5 of his original existence), but what defines the Zero of this age is his potent, multifaceted arsenal and his peerless skill in using it to its fullest. To drive it home, he defeats Copy X, who is a perfect copy of X from a technical standpoint but lacks any of the original's experience in either combat or life in general, easily, as well as defeating combat-capable Reploids just as capable as those from the X era with the same level of ease.
  • In the Metal Gear franchise, the title is bestowed upon several characters important to the events of the story.
    • First, chronologically, is "The Boss", who is considered the greatest soldier alive in the timeframe of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, only to pass that title on to her disciple, John (who becomes known as "Big Boss" to symbolize this).
      • As of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, it's revealed that there are TWO "Big Bosses," with that game's protagonist being called Venom Snake. Both he and the previous Big Boss choose to share the name and title of legendary soldier.
    • Between the events of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Frank Jaeger, aka "Null" aka "Gray Fox", is credited as "the perfect soldier," but this refers mostly to his potential. Though he becomes a very formidable and top-level soldier and agent, he isn't "perfect" by any means.
    • The events of Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, and Metal Gear Solid cement Solid Snake as the best soldier of his generation and possibly of all time. By this time, in fact, it's known that Snake is the clone of Big Boss, who has become immortalized as the "greatest soldier" of all time. It's noted that of the three cloned "brothers" of Big Boss, Snake is the most genetically imperfect of all of them, but his Heroic Resolve pushes him over the top. The Patriots even go so far as to try and replicate the circumstances leading to that Heroic Resolve in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, by creating an artificial scenario to turn an unrelated soldier, Raiden, into a new Solid Snake. Or so they led others to believe.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance:
      • By the end of the game, it's unlikely there is a single person in the world who could match Raiden in terms of combat prowess and sheer destructive power.
      • Before then, however, there's Samuel Rodrigues aka Jetstream Sam, a Brazilian Master Swordsman and member of the Winds of Destruction. He's far from the strongest thing in the setting, but a combination of being "strong enough" and his superb skills make him one of the most potent combatants in the world, if not the most potent. This is emphasized not only by the absolutely brutal Hopeless Boss Fight he subjects Raiden to in the prologue, but by the fact that the Jetstream DLC indicates he might've been able to defeat Senator Armstrong, the World's Strongest Man of the setting, due to figuring out how to get past Armstrong's Healing Factor. Unlike Raiden, the other Winds, and Armstrong, Sam also bears the distinction of being the closest thing the game has to a Badass Normal. Neither a Full-Conversion Cyborg nor a nanomachines-enhanced human, all he has is a prosthetic right arm to replace the one Armstrong damaged, a nanomachine-enhanced body suit and the Muramasa, a HF blade forged from a 16th century katana. The Muramasa, in fact, is key to Raiden's victory over Armstrong in the finale, being the only weapon capable of nullifying the Super Toughness bestowed upon Armstrong by his nanomachines.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Liu Kang, The Chosen One, is picked to defend Earthrealm because he is the strongest human warrior. For the longest years, Liu Kang's victory was canonically assured simply because he was just that great a fighter.
    • Goro was the best warrior for nine generations (450 years), but was defeated by Liu Kang before he could achieve 10 consecutive Mortal Kombat victories. No other warrior in the franchise claimed as many tournament victories as the Shokan prince.
  • Pokémon:
    • Red, the player character in Pokémon Red and Blue, is often recognized as the strongest Pokémon Trainer who ever lived in the later games of the series. Notably, Red is also the only Trainer in Pokémon Masters so far who can Mega Evolve and Gigantamax his Pokémon, and given that in Sun and Moon he also uses Z-Moves, this makes Red the only Trainer in series history to be shown using all three types of in-game battle transformations this way. He, along with Blue, were given the title "Battle Legend" in the Alolian Battle Tree and are the bosses of a battle facility where other Champions and Elite Four members participate, implying they are beyond the level of a typical Champion. Paulo in Masters outright says that Red is "the strongest Pokémon Trainer in history", even though Cynthia and many other Champions are in the game and he's seen them battle. Red also had two tenures as the untied highest-leveled NPC Trainer in the entire franchise, between the releases of Gold/Silver/Crystal and Platinum (where he was surpassed by Barry), and then again between HeartGold/SoulSilver and Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl (where he was tied by Cynthia in terms of their highest-leveled Pokémon, but with the rest of Cynthia's team being higher-leveled overall).
    • Cynthia is the highest-leveled female NPC Trainer across all Pokémon games. In Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, her final rematch team's overall level is actually the highest of all NPC Trainers in the series — while her highest-leveled Pokémon is a tie with Red in HeartGold and SoulSilver (Garchomp and Pikachu, at Level 88), the rest of her team is a few levels ahead of Red's. Cynthia's combination of balanced team composition, level, and Min-Maxing makes her one of the strongest Trainer encounters in the entire franchise as far as actual gameplay goes.
  • Othercide: The game outright states that the Mother/Red Mother is the greatest warrior to ever live. She's The Chosen One who became bonded with a benevolent Eldritch Abomination and gained superhuman might and agelessness through it. A secret order called the Nostra had her trained by their best warriors for ages before having her be their top agent for centuries.
  • From all the great hockey players in Puck OFF, only one has earned the title of the best warrior. Even though there are multiple people using that name. Saying that other boss characters can controverse his dominance in some aspect of the game with their gimmick skills and stats is a reach because he has it all. He has no weakness, which makes the match against him a bit "unfair". He dominates. (Well that's in his name) He is Dominator.
  • Sengoku Basara:
  • Soul Series:
    • Edge Master and Olcadan are the best fighters in the world. It's strongly implied that they managed to fight each other to a draw.
    • Outside of those with special powers or mystical ties such as the aforementioned Edge Master and Olcadan, Heishiro Mitsurugi is likely the strongest candidate for this title. Mitsurugi is a match even for blatantly supernatural fighters such as Nightmare, the living embodiment of Soul Edge, and Hero King Algol, a man so powerful that even Soul Edge holds no sway over him. His prowess even gets praise from Olcadan, who otherwise considers any warrior other than Edge Master to be beneath him.
  • Galen Marek/Starkiller of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a Child Prodigy even before being taken in by Darth Vader, who put him through Training from Hell that Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training. While most Force-sensitives are given a well-rounded education in philosophy, strategy, Fantastic Fighting Style, et cetera, Starkiller was taught nothing other than how to channel the Dark Side to survive with even his lightsaber style being self-taught out of necessity. As a result of being forced to constantly improve his fighting capabilities and nothing else, he became an Implacable Man able to overwhelm Jedi Masters with decades of experience on him before doing the same to Vader himself and The Emperor back-to-back in the end of the first game.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Late in the Sith Inquisitor's class story, another Sith Lord criticizes the PC's Arch-Enemy Darth Thanaton for repeatedly trying to murder "the most powerful Sith in generations" at a time when such Sith are greatly needed. Though they were an apprentice recently freed from slavery less than a year ago, the Inquisitor has slain multiple powerful Sith through trickery and tenacity, and has Resurrective Immortality as long as they have at least one Sith ghost bound to them. On top of that they develop a huge political powerbase beginning with founding a personal cult on Nar Shaddaa that later gets into arms-dealing, then taking over their former master's powerbase after killing her in self-defense, and earning the allegiance of Moff Pyron and a fleet of Wave-Motion Gun-equipped warships. They ultimately pull a Klingon Promotion on Thanaton, taking his seat and responsibilities on the Dark Council, and establish themselves as one of its two most important members by the expansions.
  • In Street Fighter, this title has been claimed by several people. As new games come out and the franchise's mythology expands, however, this has been left in doubt, especially in regards to the male fighters.
  • Tekken, like Street Fighter above, has numerous contestants for the title.
    • The game's eponymous "King of Iron Fist (Tekken) Tournament" is designed to settle who is the best. The title has changed hands multiple times amongst the Mishima family, with Kazuya, Heihachi and Jin (in that order) all winning at various points. However, Heihachi and Jin have both won twice (T2 and T4 for Heihachi, T3 and T5 for Jin). It must be clarified that Jin both won the third tournament and lost the fourth tournament only by a technicality, but also defeated the Final Boss characters for both games, as well as the Bigger Bad behind the whole Devil Gene subplot in the sixth game. So, in spirit, Jin has won four games in a row, which at this point probably makes him this trope. In Tekken 7, the plot was centered around Heihachi and Kazuya, with Kazuya finally emerging victorious once and for all note , but Jin is acknowledged in the Sequel Hook ending as being the only person who has a chance at stopping Kazuya, once again acknowledging how highly his abilities are regarded.
    • Steve Fox is the best boxer in the Tekken world, to the point that he quit the Association because he couldn't find a challenge anywhere except in Mixed Martial Arts.
    • Craig Marduk is the best Vale Tudo tournament fighter, easily dominating his competition due to his size and weight.
  • In the Trails Series, the most likely contender for the title of the continent's best warrior is Cassius Bright. While there are several others that can match or even exceed him in raw battle strength, his mastery of two forms of melee combat as well as his tactical and strategic prowess make him one of the most important and versatile assets in any conflict. Major players on the continent determine their courses of action based on his presence or absence in any particular situation.
  • Out of all the monsters in Undertale's Underground, Sans the Skeleton is easily the best fighter by sheer virtue of being a Combat Pragmatist: He knows that he's in a turn-based RPG, but unlike all other enemies who adhere to the rules of the genre, he does not show you that courtesy. The playable character always has the first turn? He takes the initiative. Bosses start off easy and get progressively harder? He opens with his strongest attack and firmly keeps the difficulty at "unfair" throughout the whole fight. Everyone else get stronger by getting higher stats? He has 1 Attack, 1 Defense and 1 HP, because he knows that you can One-Hit Kill anything, so Defense is worthless; attacks that deal more than 1 HP damage trigger Mercy Invincibility, so he deals 1 HP damage per frame on top of applying a Damage Over Time effect that gets worse for each frame you're in contact with his attacks, and he bypasses his low HP by abusing the fact that there are no Evasion or Accuracy stats, so there's nothing that says he cannot dodge every single one of your attacks. Turn-Based Combat is supposed to be, you know, turn-based? He attacks you in your combat menu during your own turns and eventually decides that he's not going to let you have your turn at all; he'll just keep having his turn permanently but that backfires on him when you decide to take a page from his book and attack during his turn. You'll just reload the game every time he kills you? All of the above is done not for the purpose of killing the playable character, but making you, the player, Rage Quit.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Multiple:
    • The game has a special variation. You play as Cross (nicknamed "Rook"), a Featureless Protagonist that is also a Supporting Protagonist to the game's central character, Elma. In the main story, everyone praises Elma as this trope, and as The Leader of your team, she certainly lives up to this reputation in cutscenes. However, in most other sidequests and side missions (which comprises probably 90% of the game's content), Rook builds a reputation as the most competent and successful BLADE operative ever. A few of the aliens even specifically accept or seek out your help because they consider you a warrior without peer amongst any species.
    • One of the game's numerous Superbosses is "Dadaan, the Strongest Prone". Prone in this game are Mooks, but Dadaan? He has that title for a reason. And you will find out why, painfully, if you attack him without careful preparation, even with end-game builds.
  • Yakuza: Kazuma Kiryu, in addition to having the greatest physical power level seen among the characters, is also the current greatest fighter in the series. He has displayed consummate mastery of many forms of martial arts, and his combat experience, knowledge, and talent is not only more than enough to instantly learn new moves and techniques from different masters of martial arts, but he can even learn new moves and techniques by himself via random events happening around him through sight and muscle memory alone, all which ultimately culminated in him developing his own form that assimilated and mixed several elements of the fighting styles he had, the self-created style having the same legendary moniker that he had, Dragon of Dojima. He is not just strong unarmed, though: He's also well-versed in the usage of all sorts of weaponry and can easily take a weapon from an enemy and then finish them off with their own equipment. His prowess is such that he can easily take on and defeat entire buildings of enemies, and those who can challenge him still end up losing as he ends up being the better fighter in the end. The only time we see Kiryu being stalemated was in an actual fair brawl against the legendary Taiga Saejima, who is just as physically powerful as him and is also extremely skilled enough to match him directly, and even then Kiryu ultimately wins in their last fight.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, The Dragon Mukuro Ikusaba, a.k.a. the the "Ultimate Soldier" is shown to be one of these. According to her backstory she spent her early teens serving with Private Military Contractors, and was never injured once during all those years in the front lines due to her superhuman speed and reflexes. In the What If? novel Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc IF, she manages to fight the World's Strongest Woman Sakura "Ogre" Ogami to a draw with her Waif-Fu and do the same to Master Swordsman Peko Pekoyama in Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School.
  • Fate Series:
    • Fate/stay night: Heracles is described as having peerless skill in all forms of weaponry and hand-to-hand combat. His skill means he's qualified for six of the seven regular Classes (not Caster because he was never taught Magecraft). Unfortunately, since he's summoned as Berserker, he doesn't get a chance to demonstrate his skill as his insanity forces him to rely on just his incredible strength. In Fate/strange fake, where he's summoned as Archer, he gets to demonstrate his incredible skill and become one of the most dangerous Servants.
    • The Saber class were generally considered to be the first type, the Servant most formidable in battle. Any participant who didn't believe they could summon one instead focused on other tactics and assets that would circumvent direct clashes.
    • Fate/Zero: Lancelot was considered the strongest and most skilled Knight of the Round Table. In life, he was able to battle evenly with Gawain, who is invincible as long as the sun is up. He retains his skills even as a Berserker, and ends up fighting evenly with Gilgamesh, though supplementary material points out Gilgamesh would be able to overwhelm him if his strength and speed weren't enhanced by being Berserker.
    • Fate/Grand Order introduces the Grand Servants, Servants of the seven regular Classes who are considered the absolute best at their craft. They are granted bodies much more powerful than regular Servants, increasing their combat potential even more. They normally cannot be summoned by humans; instead, they are summoned by the World/Alaya itself to deal with threats to humanity like the Beasts. Under normal circumstances, Servants with Divinity are not allowed to become Grand Servants because they are supposed to be the greatest pure human warriors, explaining why Heracles and Gilgamesh (demigods who are normally the most skilled and strongest in their respective classes) are not Grand Servants. It is possible for them to lose their title for whatever reason and be replaced.
      • Grand Assassin is The Old Man of the Mountain, AKA The First Hassan, the founder of The Hashshashin with the ability to kill anything, even immortals, or at the very least make them vulnerable to death, until he forfeits his position to be allowed to help the heroes fight Tiamat. He is eventually replaced by Tezcatlipoca, the Aztec War God. His Master, Daybit Sem Void, went Beyond the Impossible by summoning a god as a Grand Servant, and no one is sure how he did it. It is revealed that Tezcatlipoca used a loophole of creating a human body and possessing it, but it still doesn't explain how Daybit summoned him.
      • Grand Caster is King Solomon, the inventor of magecraft, until he sacrifices himself (erasing himself from the Throne of Heroes and preventing him from being summoned again) to help the heroes defeat Goetia, then Merlin replaces him. It is mentioned that a prerequisite for this position is all-seeing clairvoyance, so Gilgamesh, who has this level of clairvoyance, could have qualified if he wasn't a demigod. Later, Taigong Wang claims that if he was summoned as a Caster instead of a Rider, he would be able to be Grand Caster.
      • Grand Archer is Orion, the greatest hunter of Ancient Greece (he's the demigod son of Poseidon, but his Divinity was replaced by Blessing of the Sea God), until he forfeits his position to be allowed to help the heroes fight Artemis.
      • Grand Lancer is Romulus-Quirinus, the deified founder of Rome, until he forfeits his position to be allowed to help the heroes fight Chaos. Though he is a god, he becomes a Grand Servant through the loophole that he used to be a human and is still deeply connected to humanity.
      • Although there is no Grand Ruler, Qin Shi Huang is so amazingly powerful and skilled that several characters comment that he might as well be Grand Ruler.
      • In the Arcade version of the game, Grand Rider is Noah, the one who built the Ark to survive The Great Flood.
      • Grand Foreigner is ORT, the Ultimate Life Form from the Oort Cloud. This goes even more Beyond the Impossible because there isn't supposed to be a Foreigner Grand Servant, but the original ORT assimilated data on Servants and summoning and summoned this Alternate Self.
    • Minamoto no Raiko praises Watanabe no Tsuna as the greatest human warrior. Raiko herself is part-god and part-oni, so she is stronger, but it is still high praise to give to a Badass Normal.
    • Mysterious Ranmaru X is the greatest warrior of Planet Ranmaru, having defeated everyone else on the planet.
  • Yūji Kazami, the protagonist of the Grisaia Series, succeeds his late mentor Asako Kusakabe as the world's best sniper by the time of the third game, The Eden of Grisaia. He is also an accomplished martial artist and all-around Super Soldier.
  • Momoyo of Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! is called a "God of Martial Arts" and said to be the most powerful person in the world.
  • Hanzo Hattori in Nightshade is considered this in-universe and he lives up to the title. Any enemy that goes up against him quickly falls at his hands and he only has trouble in the latter chapters of his route because he did not wish to kill Enju's friends and later his fellow soldiers from Ieyasu.

    Web Animation 
  • CPU Championship Series: Vincent is said by the announcers to be the best fighter in the world in Season 1, and is called this throughout until his death in ENDGAME. In Season 4, Rosalina and Zelda fulfill this status.
  • RWBY: During the age of magic, only the legendary Ozma succeeded in rescuing Salem from her father's clutches. Neither beast nor men could defeat him; he was killed by illness instead. His first reincarnation's first fight with Salem reduced their entire kingdom to rubble; they only survived because they're both immortal. As the Warrior King of Vale millennia later, Ozma single-handedly ended the Great War; all the rulers offered him world domination in light of his combat prowess, but he instead brokered global peace, ended kingships and created the Huntsmen system to protect the world. Although he sacrificed most of his magic to create the Maidens long before reincarnating as Ozpin, he still became renowned throughout Remnant as a child prodigy and youngest ever headmaster of the elite Huntsmen academies.

    Webcomics 
  • El Goonish Shive: Downplayed, but it's been hinted that Tedd's mom, Noriko, is a monster hunter of absolutely legendary prowess. Near the end of the "Reflections" arc, we see — courtesy of a magic mirror that stored her form — that she also successfully hid severe facial scars from said hunting from everyone she knew. Including her husband. For years.
  • Gosu: Before he was betrayed by his disciples, the Four Heavenly Kings, the Heavenly Destroyer was considered the most powerful man in the murim thanks to his martial arts the Divine Heavenly Destruction Techniques. Before him, Sa Paecheon, the Devil of the Venom Hands, was considered the strongest person of the old murim.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • Meti Ten Ryo was the greatest slave to the sword to ever live. A peasant woman from the Golden City of Kesh, Meti trained her body until every part of her body was a lethal weapon and then mastered the sword until she had understood its true nature, which was Cutting Down Your Opponent, a revelation that granted her the ability to Cut anything using anything. Meti once fought ten thousand men naked and won, and at another point in time killed thirty-five men unconsciously, when they ambushed her while she was gathering food. According to the author, Meti would absolutely destroy any character present in the comic living or dead (except possibly YISUN, Zoss or Intra) if she weren't long dead.
    • In the present, the title of world's best warrior belongs to Pankrator Jagganoth, the Demiurge of Wrath. Already the World's Strongest Man, Jagganoth is an incredibly skilled warrior who backs up his overwhelming power with a knowledge of multiple arts both mystical and physical, and is the strongest of the Seven Black Emperors by a comfortable margin.
    • In terms of pure skill, however, Jagganoth is outdone by Solomon David, the Demurge of Pride. While lacking Jagganoth's prodigious strength and Complete Immortality, Solomon David is the most skilled duelist and martial artist currently alive in the multiverse, having spent his long life on learning and mastering practically every martial art known in The Multiverse. He doesn't even need to use any of them, as he is already the sole living grandmaster of Ki Rata, but nontheless has learned all the others as well to satisfy his perfectionism and allow him to deal with challengers by turning their own martial arts against them. When faced with Jagganoth in all-out battle during the Discordance, neither combatant is initially able to harm the other — Jagganoth simply ignores all of Solomon's attacks thanks to his immortality, while Solomon is so fast and skilled that Jagganoth can't deal telling blows to him, and is backed up by one of the other Demiurges whenever Jagganoth gets the upper hand. Ultimately, it takes a Cavalry Betrayal and Jagganoth breaking out his One-Winged Angel form followed by Solomon using his ultimate move to end the battle, with both Solomon and Jagganoth temporarily sealed away from the rest of Creation. According to Jadis, Jagganoth is still alive but Solomon's status is unknown.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in Archer with the title character. While Archer has the reputation as being "The World's Most Dangerous Spy," it's more so because he's a Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds. He leaves destruction in his wake due to his incompetence.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra:
    • Each incarnation of Avatar is the best bender in the world during their lifetime.
    • Toph and Bumi were both considered to be the world's greatest earthbender(s) (mainly because a duel between them ended in a tie). In Korra, Bumi has long since passed, and Toph is indisputably the greatest earthbender in the world. Age has only made her stronger, to the point that she doesn't even need her hands to bend anymore. Since Toph invented metalbending, she might be the strongest earthbender ever and is in the running for strongest bender outside the Avatar ever seen.
    • Amon is described as one of the most skilled and powerful benders ever, and certainly the strongest waterbender shown so far. He's possibly the strongest non-Avatar bender to ever live. The only thing ever shown to be able to break his psychic bloodbending is the Avatar State. His brother Tarrlok is also up there given that they can both bloodbend without a full moon.
    • The Fire Nation Royal family is filled to the brim with prodigious benders and are the best fire benders shown in the franchise. In the original show, Ozai is described as the best firebender of his time, while his brother Iroh is indisputably the most skilled firebender, being the only one of his time who can both generate and redirect lightning (a technique he created himself). In Korra, Zuko's grandson Iroh II is the most skilled one shown. He effortlessly can shoot lightning using the older technique (Mako uses the newer one) for using his bending to fly. Granted the Fire Nation is Out of Focus note  for the show so there's not really anyone else to gauge him off of.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force Season 3, it's an interplanetary law that one can legally conquer a planet by defeating that world's greatest hero in a duel. In the Season Premiere, Vilgax tries to conquer Earth by challenging Ben to a duel. In preparation for this duel, he invokes the same law on 10 other planets and steals their greatest heroes' powers.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Chad Dickson, f.k.a. Soopreme Leader of the KND, Numbuh 274, was considered to be the best operative on the planet. After he defected, the title eventually went to Nigel Uno, a.k.a. Numbuh 1, leader of Sector V. One of the main reasons why Chad hates Nigel so much is because even while being a Fake Defector, Nigel is still considered to have surpassed him, while Chad still sees himself as "the best there is." It's in "Operation: T.R.E.A.T.Y." that Nigel proves him wrong.
  • In Gargoyles, The Hero Goliath is referred to as "the greatest warrior alive" by his Arch-Enemy David Xanatos. Given that the only things that tend to consistently defeat Goliath in one-on-one combat are robotic juggernauts and semi-omnipotent magical beings, this doesn't seem to be hyperbole (Goliath has also conceded that he has trouble with Demona and Macbeth, but these two are literally immortal warriors with centuries of experience, so Goliath still deserves credit for holding his own when he only has a few decades behind him).
  • Subverted in Generator Rex. Agent Six earned his name when he was an assassin, as he was considered the sixth most dangerous man in the world. One episode introduces us to number one, who Rex naturally assumes is this trope. He isn't, though; as Six explains at the end of the episode, he's considered the most dangerous man in the world, not the strongest. That is, he has the most kills to his name. Six himself is actually a superior fighter, which he proves by beating numbers 5 through 2 over the course of the episode.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) has the eponymous hero, He-Man, "The Most Powerful Man In The Universe".
  • In Mighty Max, the guardian Norman is this, so much so that most of the great warrior-heroes of Earth were actually Norman under various aliases. When he served Odin in the battle against the Doom Dragon he went by Thor the Thunderer, when he served JHVH he was Samson, and he later lived as Lancelot and Little John as well.
  • The title character of Samurai Jack. The number of warriors that can take him in a fair one on one fight can be counted on one hand and the Guardian is the only character to flat out be superior to him and even then it's heavily implied that Jack is destined to one day surpass him. It certainly helps that his childhood involved being trained by the greatest warriors in the world and mastering every weapon and fighting style physically possible. Aku outright states that, if nothing else, a fighting style superior to his simply does not exist and has to create Mad Jack just to have a minion that can match him one on one. In Season 5, the High Priestess spent years raising and training her seven daughters to create a fighting force capable of killing Jack, and even Ashi, the strongest of them and capable of slaughtering an entire army on her own with no injury, can't beat him head-on alone and they need to work together to stand a chance. Take note that this was while Jack was going through a Despair Event Horizon which had accumulated for 50 years and yet, he hadn't aged that entire time and was still in his formidable prime.

    Real Life 
  • Dogfighting/Aerial Combat
    • Any discussion of dogfighting or aerial combat will inevitably bring up Mannfred von Richtoffen, the Red Baron, with his famous 80 shoot-downs. In dogfights, pilots live and die by the rulebook he wrote.
    • However, he pales in comparison to the obscure but far more badass Erich "Bubi" Hartmann of World War II, who shot down 352 aircraft, never lost a wingman's life (though there was one case of a shoot-down, Hartmann had not wanted said pilot as he didn't think he could keep up, though said pilot did manage to parachute), and his 14 crash landings were only because of mechanical failure of aerial debris (he liked to get up close to guarantee kills), not enemy fire. The only caveat on his record, and the reason he's not as well regarded as von Richtoffen, is the fact that he spent most of his time fighting in the Eastern Front against the Soviet Air Force, which was, for the majority of WWII, poorly equipped, poorly organized and poorly trained, meaning Hartmann and the Luftwaffe were in a massive advantage even before individual pilot skills were concerned.
    • Also in WWII was Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a Stuka bomber pilot whose career stats include 2,530 combat missions claiming a total of 2,000 targets destroyed; including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artillery pieces, 70 landing craft, nine aircraft, four armored trains, several bridges, a destroyer, two cruisers, and the Soviet battleship Marat. This is almost certainly exaggerated, but he very likely has the blew up the most things as a single human record.
  • Snipers/Marksmen
    • Simo Häyhä was a Finnish marksman who killed possibly 219 Soviet soldiersnote  with little more than a bolt action rifle and iron sights in the early 1900s Winter War, surviving counter-snipers, artillery strikes, and an explosive bullet to his face, making him the deadliest soldier in the Finnish Army. He also killed dozens of men with his submachine gun (commonly credited with 200, though how anyone could have figured out that exact number when every SMG action he ever participated in was done as a squad leader of other men spraying at the same targets with the same weapons is anyone's guess). Even if his kill number was overblown, he definitely was a brilliant marksman with an iron will who could lay still on the snow for hours and likely has the kill record anway.
    • For the Americans during World War II, Audie Murphy was a One-Man Army and Humble Hero, as well as the most decorated hero in American history. Among his more famous (and well-documented) actions are clearing out an enemy machine gun nest near Battipaglia with grenades and carbine fire (killing five Germans), destroying a disabled German tank at close range with rifle grenades (after helping to disable it) at Mignano Monte Lungo, gunning down two Fascist Italian officers with his carbine at Canicattì, taking several Germans prisoner while serving on the Volturno Line, killing three Germans with a medium machine gun at Ramatuelle, single-handedly clearing out a house occupied by a German squad (killing six and taking eleven prisoner, two wounded), clearing out another German machine gun position at L'Omet quarry (killing four and wounding three), shooting a sniper between the eyes near Brouvelieures after the man wounded him with a hip shot, and single-handedly holding off a German attack at Holtzwihr, where he jumped on the .50 BMG machine gun of a burning tank destroyer and killed or wounded fifty Germans with it to cover his unit's retreat.
    • Lyudmila Pavilchenko, "Lady Death," World War II Soviet sniper with 309 confirmed kills (per the Soviets anyway), including 36 German snipers sent specifically to kill her (most of her kills were probably Romanians considering she saw the most action at the Siege of Odessa), making her the most successful female sniper in history.
    • Chris Kyle, of American Sniper fame, is a sniper for the modern era, with 160 reported kills spread across four tours of duty. Note that modern kill counting procedures, especially American ones, are much more strict (and thus more accurate) than those used in the mid 20th century, so unlike most of those already mentioned, he's good for every single one of those kills.
    • While his kill count is not as high as others (93 confirmed, many more probable), Vietnam War era sniper Carlos Hathcock achieved legendary status for his exploits, including a real-life Scope Snipe. A massive bounty was put on his head, with several of the Viet Cong's top snipers sent after him, but he managed to outshoot them all. He also used an M2 Heavy Machine Gun for sniping, meaning that when he hit, the .50 BMG bullet blew the target apart and if he was attacked at close range, he would just flip the gun to full auto and open up.
  • Mixed Martial Arts: The current UFC Heavyweight Champion is usually considered to be the most powerful MMA fighter in the world, since the UFC has the largest and deepest pool of MMA talent in the world. Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Frank Mir, Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, and Stipe Miocic, among others, have all held this title. In the Aughts, when the heavyweight talent pool was arguably deeper in Japan, Fedor Emelianenko is a notable exception, going almost 10 years undefeated at the highest ranks of MMA competition. Emelianenko is widely considered the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time and usually finds himself on the shortlist for greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time. However, it is important to note that a lot of expert martial artists, particularly from Eastern styles, are Martial Pacifists, and so unlikely to participate in competitions.
  • In general, whenever there is a unified, undisputed heavyweight champion across all the major boxing championships, that boxer is considered the best boxer in the world. Boxers such as Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko have all had lengthy careers with this distinction.
  • Pre-Modern History:
    • Duellists were, many times, chasing this exact distinction, seeking to prove themselves the best among the best in their particular combat discipline.
      • One of the most well known in the world was ronin, duellist, writer, philosopher and artist, Myiamoto Musashi, credited with 61 duel victories. The man became such a proeminent figure in Japanese folklore that its, at times, hard to distinguish the facts from the legend in his life.
  • While in land warfare, one is hard pressed to find a common answer of who was the world's greatest warrior, its generally accepted that the answer for naval warfare was of Yi Sun-Sin of Joseon Korea, an autodidact when it came to naval warfare, Yi was more or less the biggest reason as to why the Japanese failed in conquering Korea in the Imjin War. Where most of the corrupt, incompetent or just nepotistic Korean military floundered, Yi won victory after victory despite overwhelming odds and made the life of Japanese logisticians a living hell by stubbornly holding the Korean seas with an iron fist. To illustrate how highly the man is seen by naval commanders, after crushing the Russian navy in the Russo-Japanese war, Japanese naval commander Tōgō Heihachirō had this to say:
    Togo: It may be proper to compare me with Nelson, but not with Korea’s Yi Sun-sin, for he has no equal.

Alternative Title(s): Worlds Greatest Warrior

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