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Every Time Vegeta Was Stronger Than Goku (In Chronological Order)

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Goku and Vegeta’s rivalry is a rather one-sided affair, even in Dragon Ball Z. It’s true that Vegeta starts out stronger than Goku, but the Saiyan saga makes it very clear that the Prince of All Saiyans is playing with fire. By the end of the Namek arc, Vegeta’s completely outclassed by Goku – the real legendary Super Saiyan – and spends the rest of DBZ struggling to keep up with a “rival” who’s mostly just humoring an enemy turned hostile companion.


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To Vegeta’s credit, though, he’s managed to even the playing field courtesy of Dragon Ball Super. Where Dragon Ball GT had Vegeta content with Goku’s status as the greatest martial artist in the universe, Super’s Vegeta isn’t ready to let the rivalry go quite yet. As of the Granolah arc, Vegeta’s never been closer in power to Goku. In fact, Vegeta’s new Ultra Ego transformation gives Goku’s Ultra Instinct a real run for its money.

Updated on August 25, 2022 by Renan Fontes: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has finally hit theaters in North America, releasing four years after the previous movie, Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Although Super Hero mainly focuses on Piccolo and Gohan, Vegeta has a surprisingly great arc that focuses on him getting past his ego following the Tournament of Power. In a rare twist of fate, Super Hero even ends by giving Vegeta a rare win over his rival – Goku’s time as Dragon Ball’s strongest Saiyan may just be coming to an end.


Vegeta Is Significantly Stronger Than Goku When They First Meet

Attack Of The Saiyan Arc

Dragon Ball Manga – Goku vs Vegeta – Goku powers up to Kaioken while Vegeta reacts in shock

Vegeta is significantly stronger than Goku when they first meet in Dragon Ball Z. Goku’s base strength can’t even keep up with a Vegeta who’s just warming up, with the Elite Saiyan forcing Goku to trigger Kaioken immediately or perish. The Prince is even stronger as a Great Ape, shattering virtually every single bone in his opponent’s body.

For as powerful as Vegeta is, he lacks Goku’s skill and tenacity. In spite of his overwhelming lead, he’s pushed back as Goku taps into Kaioken, outmaneuvers him with pure martial arts, and wounds Vegeta’s pride with some of the best fight choreography in Dragon Ball.

Arrogance ends up being Vegeta’s real downfall in the Saiyan arc. Had he not been so rattled by the beam struggle, Vegeta would have realized that Goku was out of energy. Instead, he wastes his own Ki into becoming an Oozaru, essentially telling Gohan & Krillin to come back and save Goku’s life before it’s too late.

Vegeta Gets Access To The Frieza Force Healing Pods

The Namek Saga

Dragon Ball Z Anime - Vegeta threatens Cui

Even though Vegeta loses at the end of the Saiyan saga, he doesn’t lose his power gap over Goku until the latter starts training on his way to Namek. It helps that Goku’s also out of commission for a while, relying on the hospital while waiting for Senzu to grow. Vegeta, on the other hand, has access to the Frieza Force healing pods.

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Vegeta’s ready to head to Namek in no time at all, rushing off to the planet around the same time Gohan, Krillin, and Bulma set forth to outer space. When they all arrive, Vegeta is easily the strongest of the main characters, forcing Gohan and Krillin to sneak around most of Namek while Vegeta picks off Frieza’s personal guard.

It’s not clear when exactly Goku surpasses Vegeta in Power Level, but he’s long since outdone the Prince of All Saiyans by the time the Dragon Team is fighting the Ginyu Force. Goku himself is in a completely different league, decimating Recoome with no effort at all.

Even Tenshinhan Acknowledges Vegeta As Stronger Than Goku

The Cell Arc

Androids 19 and 20 Shocked to See Super Saiyan Vegeta

The last time Vegeta has the lead over Goku in Dragon Ball Z is during the Cell arc. After Future Trunks warns Goku of the Android attack, everyone goes their separate ways to train. While Goku is left training with Piccolo & Gohan, Vegeta flies off somewhere (outer space in the anime) for solo training.

When Vegeta returns to Earth, he’s actually stronger than Goku – a fact noted by even Tenshinhan. This could be because of Goku’s Heart Virus, but it’s more likely Vegeta just trained harder and better. Even though training with others typically yields better results in Dragon Ball, Goku had since far surpassed both Piccolo and Gohan. He likely would have been holding back for most of their training while they got up to speed.

Vegeta, on the other hand, was training alone with extreme determination. Beyond that, Vegeta could still make use of near-death experiences to boost his power as he wasn’t a Super Saiyan yet. Along with the fact that Vegeta is stronger than Goku, it’s fitting that he’s reintroduced as the stronger Super Saiyan.

Vegeta Attacks Beerus And Actually Draws Blood

Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods

Super Saiyan Vegeta kicks Beerus in the gut from Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

Vegeta gets one of his best moments in the franchise during Battle of Gods. After spending the entire second act doing Beerus’ bidding in order to keep the Earth intact, he loses control when the God of Destruction strikes Bulma. Unable to control his rage, Vegeta attacks Beerus and actually draws blood.

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Vegeta does more to Beerus in Super Saiyan 2 than Goku did in Super Saiyan 3 at the start of the film. Beyond that, he’s actually able to hit Beerus while earning Master Roshi’s praise. Goku ends up surpassing Vegeta once he triggers Super Saiyan God, but the Prince of All Saiyans finally outmatched his rival when it mattered most.

Vegeta Starts Immersion Training With Whis Long Before Goku

The Universe 6 Saga

Whis catches Goku and Vegeta's fists with his fingers - Dragon Ball Super anime

Goku may have become a Super Saiyan God in order to fight Beerus, but Vegeta doesn’t let this hold him back. Instead, he uses it as motivation to train with Whis and start mastering God Ki. By the time Goku starts training with Whis as well – something he needs to basically beg for in the anime – Vegeta’s already been immersion training for quite a while.

Vegeta gets a wide enough gap over Goku that they’re dead even by the time the Universe 6 Tournament starts. From there, however, Goku finds new ways to surpass Vegeta. Whether it be Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken, Mastered Super Saiyan Blue, or Ultra Instinct. The Moro arc made it seem like Goku had fully surpassed Vegeta thanks to his mastery of Ultra Instinct, but Ultra Ego has leveled the playing field.

Vegeta Unlocks His Ultra Ego While Battling Granolah

Granolah The Survivor Saga

Ultra Ego Vegeta headbutts Granolah in Dragon Ball Super manga

Ultra Ego was introduced in Chapter 74 of the Dragon Ball Super manga, “Vegeta Vs. Granolah.” Most of the chapter involves Vegeta getting beaten into submission by Granolah with little chance of victory. Right as the battle seems lost, Vegeta reflects on how much he loves the thrill of battle and awakens a brand new form, not unlike Goku’s Ultra Instinct.

Unlike Ultra Instinct, however, Ultra Ego is all about brute force. Vegeta only gets stronger as he takes more damage, which encourages him to fight viscerally and take attacks full-on. While a user will eventually feel the weight of any injuries sustained during Ultra Ego, the form seems to nullify pain or at the very least channel it into more power.

Is Vegeta stronger than Goku now? Although Goku’s on his way toward unlocking yet another version of Ultra Instinct, there’s no denying Ultra Ego’s overwhelming power. Where Ultra Instinct gives the user finesse over his movements, Ultra Ego makes the user so powerful that they can fight however they want. There’s a slight chance that even Mastered Ultra Instinct can’t compare to Ultra Ego.

Vegeta Beats Goku Using Nothing More Than Raw Power And Combat Expertise

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Goku vs Vegeta Dragon Ball Super Super Hero

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is Piccolo and Gohan’s movie at the end of the day, but Vegeta walks away with some of his best character development in the story. Even more surprising considering he’s barely in the movie. Following the Tournament of Power, Goku and Vegeta decide to train themselves even harder in order to surpass Jiren.

For Goku, this means pushing himself even harder. For Vegeta, it means meditating and finding the peace of mind he so sorely lacks. The two rivals spend most of Super Hero‘s runtime locked in battle to show Broly what they’re capable of without killing intent. Without turning Super Saiyan or using Ki attacks, Vegeta defeats Goku through raw power and technique. Super Hero ends with Vegeta knocking Goku down and claiming a definitive victory for himself.

While this is far from the first time Vegeta has beaten Goku in battle, it is the first time there’s been no wiggle room. Nobody came to save Goku, Vegeta didn’t knock him out behind his back, and two spent the whole battle on equal footing. If that doesn’t prove Vegeta is stronger than Goku, nothing will at this point.

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