At this point, nearly every member of the Z-Warriors has fought Goku at least once in the Dragon Ball anime. Here’s what happened in their battles.
Nearly every member of the Z-Warriors has battled it out with Goku in the Dragon Ball franchise. In fact, the only heroes who haven’t come to blows with the show’s protagonist at one point or another are his youngest son, Goten, the present-day version of Trunks, and Chiaotzu. Everyone else, though, knows what it’s like to be at odds with the Saiyan warrior.
Across all three shows, Goku won a great many of the battles he’s had with his friends, but not all have gone his way. Here’s every Z-Warrior who has fought Goku in Dragon Ball canon, and what happened.
Vegeta is Goku’s main rival in Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, but that role initially belonged to his best friend, Krillin. While the two were pupils of Master Roshi, Krillin trained diligently to prove his superiority over Goku, despite the fact that the latter was always several steps ahead of him. Even though the gap between their power levels widened to a point where there was no debating who would win, the two held a rematch in Dragon Ball Super, with Krillin having no choice but to rely on a fast combination of techniques. When Goku powered up to Super Saiyan Blue and unleashed a Kamehameha, Android 18 interrupted the fight, feeling that Goku was pushing him too hard.
Master Roshi secretly battled Gohan and Krillin in the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament under the guise of “Jackie Chun”, as he believed that either of his students winning could affect their confidence in a negative way. As “Jackie Chun”, Roshi saw first-hand how strong Goku had become, but he was still able to persevere.
While being mind-controlled, Roshi fought against Goku a second time in Dragon Ball Super. To the surprise of fans, Roshi actually had enough strength to beat Tien and challenge Goku in his base form. It was a significant moment for the character because it proved that he had been training in secret and that he wasn’t as far behind the rest of the Z-Warriors as originally thought.
Yamcha, who is commonly thought of as one of the weakest Z-Warriors, actually beat Goku when they first encountered each other. In fact, their fight wasn’t even close. Goku had the Power Pole on his side, but it didn’t matter against the sword-wielding Desert Bandit. He couldn’t withstand the flurry of blows that Yamcha bombarded him with, including his signature move, the Wolf Fang Fist.
Before becoming a hero, Tien served as Goku’s opponent in the final round of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. After barely overcoming Yamcha, Tien engaged Goku in a heated showdown. Master Shen tried to use Chiaotzu to cheat on Tien’s behalf, but Tien was determined to have a fair fight. In the end, both were knocked into the air, with Goku landing first. Due to this technicality, he was declared the loser. Similar to the situation with Yamcha, Goku hasn’t had a proper rematch with Tien yet, but there’s no denying that he would come out on top if another fight were to occur.
Yajirobe, the laziest of Goku’s allies, didn’t have to do any training to pose a physical challenge to Goku in Dragon Ball. After a run-in in the wilderness, the two had a standoff, but the outcome was inconclusive, as Cymbal came onto the scene before a winner could be determined. In the present, Yajirobe – who has only dedicated a small amount of his time to training – is unfortunately no longer thought to be a match for any of the Z-Warriors.
After Demon King Piccolo was reincarnated, a new character was born. The new version of Piccolo emerged as an adversary of Goku for the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. Goku battled Piccolo in the finals, and came quite close to losing. Both characters used some of their strongest attacks in the match and sustained serious injuries. At the end of the fight, Goku flew for the first time in Dragon Ball history and landed a headbutt, which turned out to be the knockout blow he needed. Afterward, Piccolo planned to defeat Goku in a future rematch, but later events involving the Saiyan invaders caused them to evolve from enemies into allies.
Goku and Vegeta have had two serious fights in the anime, the first of which is the one that transpired in the Saiyan Saga. Thanks to the training he received from King Kai, Goku returned from Other World with a sizable power boost that put him far above Piccolo and the Z-Warriors. After effortlessly taking down Nappa, Goku fought Vegeta one-on-one and showed the Saiyan prince that he had truly become a force to be reckoned with by using the Spirit Bomb move and Kaio-ken technique. Seeing that Goku was stronger, Vegeta shifted the odds in his favor by forcing a Great Ape transformation. Following Goku’s defeat, he had to rely on Krillin, Gohan, and Yajirobe to finish the fight against Vegeta.
Goku has gone up against Future Trunks on two separate occasions. When they met in the Android Saga, Future Trunks – who had just been revealed as Dragon Ball’s second Super Saiyan – attacked Goku due to being curious about his power. They fought for a short while and lasted long enough for Trunks to see that Goku was stronger than him. Goku remained on the defensive the entire time, and only blocked Trunks’ sword strikes with his finger. They had a similar encounter during their reunion in Dragon Ball Super, which culminated in Goku going Super Saiyan 3. Upon seeing this, Trunks realized that he was way out of Goku’s league.
Goku put Gohan through some intense sparring in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and guided him into unlocking Super Saiyan 2 form. Several years later, Gohan sought help from Piccolo so that he could regain his fighting edge. Once Gohan decided that he was ready for actual combat, he designed to test his newfound strength against the strongest opponent he could find: Goku. Gohan hit Goku with everything he had, and even managed to push him into accessing Super Saiyan Blue. Still, Gohan hung in the fight and wouldn’t go down until Goku combined this power with his Kaio-ken technique.
In Dragon Ball Z, Goku impressively overpowered Majin Buu with his Super Saiyan 3 form, thus making it clear that if he would have won if the fight had continued. At the time, the Earth itself was at stake, but the circumstances of their rematch – which happened in Dragon Ball Super – were much friendlier. After losing a great deal of weight, the good version of Buu fought Goku (who refrained from transforming) and used tactics to ring him out.
On account of the heart virus, Goku missed out on the Z-Warriors’ conflict with Android 18 and Android 17, whose primary objective in Dragon Ball Z was to kill him. They both abandoned this goal, but 17 did get an opportunity to fight Goku during the lead-up to the Tournament of Power. In a shocking scene, 17 demonstrated that he had somehow become powerful enough to match blows with Super Saiyan Blue Goku, with one of 17’s biggest advantages being the fact that androids never run out of energy. Their battle eventually ended in a stalemate. After the fight was over, it was heavily implied that both characters avoided utilizing their full potential.