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7 Dragon Ball Characters Goku Can’t Beat Yet (& 7 He Never Will)

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A widely-held misconception among Dragon Ball fans is the belief that its protagonist, Son Goku, always saves the day. While this may very well be true for the original Dragon Ball Z movies (most of them anyway), it’s far from the case when it comes to the original manga and the media franchise as a whole. Goku wins a lot, but he doesn’t win all the time.


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Goku is not the strongest character in his multiverse, nor has he been in a very long time. The idea that there will always be a stronger opponent is a concept Dragon Ball has played with frequently, and it’s one that Dragon Ball Super is putting at the front and center of the franchise’s narrative.

Updated on January 13, 2022 by Kennedy King: As the Z-Fighters move into Dragon Ball Super‘s Super Hero Saga, there are more characters than ever for the series’ protagonist to face in combat. Goku’s immense strength and unparalleled determination make him a threat to any opponent; however, even a Super Saiyan God is capable of meeting their match.


Characters Goku Can’t Beat (Yet)

Hit’s Time-Skip Makes Him A Threat To Virtually Anyone

Dragon Ball Super Kaioken Super Saiyan Blue Goku punches Hit

Hit is an impressive opponent for several reasons, but there’s no doubt that his greatest ability is the Time-Skip power. It allows its user to skip through time at tenth-of-a-second intervals during which the user can do virtually whatever they want. Hit uses this against Goku and Vegeta, though Goku learns how to fight back against the ability.

In all reality, Goku could probably beat Hit if the two fought again. However, that remains to be proven. Hit has worked to improve his Time-Skip ability and trained to become an even more powerful warrior. As one of the deadliest foes Goku has ever faced, Hit would certainly be an interesting match-up.

Kefla Represents The Pinnacle Of Saiyan Power

Anime Dragon Ball Super Kefla Legendary Super Saiyan 2

Kale is the Universe 6 variant of the Legendary Super Saiyan, and she proved herself a match for Goku in his Super Saiyan God form. This is already a testament to Kale’s power, but she increased this even further by fusing with Caulifla. As Kefla, she completely trounced Goku — even if Goku was weakened and battered at that point.

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Like Hit, there is a very real chance that Goku could beat Kefla at this point, but that is far from a guarantee. It remains to be seen if Goku can better the fused Caulifla and Kale, and it feels like a rematch needs to happen.

Broly Forced Goku And Vegeta To Join Forces

Dragon Ball Super Goku and Broly

Considering Goku and Vegeta needed to fuse into Gogeta to turn the tide against Broly, it perhaps goes without saying that Goku can’t handle the berserk Saiyan on his own quite yet– at least not when Broly’s fighting at full power. Goku even goes so far as to say Broly might be stronger than Beerus, Goku’s former major benchmark.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before Goku surpasses Broly. Whether that’ll happen soon after he masters Ultra Instinct is its own question, but there’s realistically no way Broly stays Goku’s physical superior, especially not if Dragon Ball Super goes all-in on Goku and Broly training together.

Jiren Easily Defeated The Best Fighters From Multiple Universes

Ultra Instinct Goku versus Jiren in Dragon Ball Super

For as flat a character Jiren is, he’s a thoughtful thematic foil for Goku — a fundamental and philosophical opposite to the passionate Saiyan. Jiren has the raw power Goku lacks, but he lacks Goku’s passion for martial arts and self-improvement, another important tenet of Dragon Ball.

Although even Ultra Instinct wasn’t enough to fully take down Jiren in the Tournament of Power, the nature of the series essentially guarantees Goku will surpass Jiren in the near future. It’s doubtful Jiren keeps his undefeatable status should he ever appear again in a meaningful capacity.

Moro’s Wizardry Is A Natural Counter To Goku’s Strength

A close-up of moro, a primary antagonist in the Dragon Ball Super manga

Dragon Ball Super is chock-full of characters that could level entire galaxies, but even by its standards, Moro is an exceptionally strong opponent. Thanks to the intervention of Vegeta, Whis, and several other characters, Goku was able to defeat the space-faring wizard. However, the series’ protagonist would more than likely fall short if they were to square off again in a one-on-one fight.

Goku has become much stronger since the Z-Fighters defeated Moro, thanks in large part to his discovery of the True Ultra Instinct form. Unfortunately, the Saiyan’s chance of defeating Moro will remain minuscule until he masters its usage.

Merus Was Once On The Path To Becoming An Angel

Merus, the strongest member of the Galactic Patrol, as he appears in Dragon Ball Super

Despite being briefly erased from existence, Merus seems like a character that is destined to fight alongside the Z-Fighters in the near future. The former Angel-in-training played a major role in the defeat of Moro, setting a new benchmark for Goku in the process.

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Although Merus — the strongest member of the Galactic Patrol — may not possess all the powers he did as an Angel, his combat prowess should be more than enough to challenge Goku. True Ultra Instinct may provide Goku an avenue to consistently defeat the Patrolman in the near future, but until then, he is the superior fighter.

The Gods of Destruction Each Possess Immeasurable Power

Dragon Ball Super Gods of Destruction

Beerus as a benchmark keeps getting pushed further and further away from Goku — to the point where it seems Beerus’s canonical strength will always be stronger than Goku. It’s fitting and would make sense considering the godly context in which both Beerus and Whis were introduced. That said, there’s no reason Goku can’t fight and defeat one of the many other Gods of Destruction.

The Universe Survival arc seemed to sow the seeds for an evil Vermoud, but nothing ever came from it. As is, almost every God of Destruction is a relatively blank slate, but that just means there’s plenty of wiggle room for the series to invent a reason for Goku to fight a God of Destruction and come out victorious.

Characters Goku Will Never Beat

Gohan Will Always Be Goku’s Son

Adult Gohan powering up in his human form during the events of Dragon Ball Z

Thanks to the events of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, Son Gohan is stronger than ever. His Gohan Beast form ranks among the strongest seen in the entire series, and despite his time away from fighting, his combat IQ and instinct are as high as ever.

However, Gohan’s abilities on the battlefield aren’t what makes him such an insurmountable challenge to Son Goku. Rather, it is the loving, father-son bond between the two that would prevent Goku from decisively defeating his son in combat, regardless of their comparative strength levels.

Fused Zamasu Necessitated The Intervention Of An Actual God

Dragon Ball Super Fused Zamasu as he appears during the climax of the Goku Black arc

In order to defeat Zamasu, the primary antagonist of the Goku Black Arc, Goku and Vegeta were forced to fuse into Vegito. However, Zamasu then followed suit, fusing with a future version of himself — Goku Black — to become Fused Zamasu. This form was far more than even Super Saiyan Blue Vegito could handle.

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Ultimately, Goku had to request Zeno to remove the future where Fused Zamasu exists to save the universe, though it pained Goku to do so. Should Fused Zamasu ever return, it will likely spell doom for Goku and his associates.

Zeno Controls Every Element Of The Known Multiverse

Dragon Ball Super's Zeno, the Supreme deity that presides over each universe

From God to Kaio, Kaioshin, and now Zeno, Dragon Ball has always fielded at least one omniscient figure who was stronger than the rest. In the past, new deities appeared like clockwork, outclassing the previous God/Kaio that came before them.

That said, it really does seem like Zeno will stay the strongest god in Dragon Ball for the foreseeable future. His level of power is so incomprehensible that it seems highly unlikely Goku will ever fight Zeno, let alone beat him. With the snap of a finger, Zeno is capable of erasing entire universes from existence, so regardless of Goku’s Saiyan abilities, his mortal constraints will almost certainly prevent him from overpowering Zeno.

Whis Has Yet To Be Pushed By An Opponent

Dragon Ball Super's Goku, Vegeta, and Whis during a joint training session

Considering the Moro arc has very recently established that angels absolutely cannot interfere with mortal affairs, it perhaps goes without saying that Goku won’t be defeating Whis anytime soon. In fact, any villain that could actually pose a threat to Whis would be too powerful for anyone in the main cast to fight — let alone defeat.

Should Dragon Ball Super run long enough, it’s entirely possible Goku (and Vegeta) will fight Whis. However, fans shouldn’t expect him to win or put up a serious fight unless Goku experiences some significant breakthroughs in his training.

The Angels’ Calm Demeanors Belie Their Incredible Strength

Dragon Ball Super's Angels and Gods of Destruction

Before Whis scolded Merus about training Goku, fans could have totally assumed that Goku would fight an angel at some point. However, it seems that Dragon Ball Super actually has some fairly rigid rules in place for the angels. Of course, this is a franchise that’s never been shy about breaking its established rules in favor of interesting storytelling, so that is always subject to change.

The Gods of Destruction tend to represent the Universes’ deities in combat, and as a result, the angels usually function as regulating bodies. Their aversion to combat and omnipowerful abilities will likely prevent Goku from ever defeating an angel in a one-on-one fight.

Beerus Is The Strongest God Of Destruction

Beerus prepares a Hakai blast in Dragon Ball Super

Beerus was quite literally introduced as a benchmark Goku could not reach. While Dragon Ball Super keeps teasing the notion that Goku and Vegeta are not only Beerus’s rivals, but destined to surpass him, Beerus still seems like an endgame opponent.

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It’s entirely possible that Goku and Vegeta fight Beerus as part of some final, two-versus-one battle without the result ever being seen. It would parallel Goku and Vegeta’s fates from Dragon Ball Online while keeping Beeru’s thematic meaning and weight properly intact.

Vegeta And Goku Are Locked In An Eternal Rivalry

Vegeta using his Super Saiyan Blue form in Dragon Ball Super

As the main character, Goku is often stronger than Vegeta and could likely beat him in a fight if the two went head-to-head. But it’s very unlikely something like this would manifest in Dragon Ball Super, a series that consistently depicts Goku and Vegeta as equals. Goku may very well be the stronger of the two, but if these two actually fought again, the franchise almost certainly wouldn’t get a clear winner.

Both of Goku’s and Vegeta’s previous fights ended prematurely. Their first fight in the Saiyan Arc would have gone to Vegeta and his Great Ape Form, but they were interrupted as soon as Goku lost the upper hand. Their second ended with Vegeta sneak attacking Goku, leaving the fight undecided but the result muddy considering Vegeta knocked Goku out. Were the two to square off in a rubber match, fans would almost certainly receive a similarly ambiguous result.

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