Goku vs Vegeta: Who Would Win?

Goku vs Vegeta is one of the greatest rivalries in anime/manga history, even though it seems to be somewhat of a one-sided rivalry these days with Vegeta always playing catch up. The idea of debating who would win between Vegeta and Goku may sound absurd to many because Goku has consistently been shown to be more powerful, but the fact of the matter is that Vegeta has already defeated Goku twice. Goku, on the other hand, never defeated Vegeta. So the real question is, can Goku defeat Vegeta now that they’ve both gotten some crazy cool powerups in the most recent manga arc. Let’s take a look at their powers, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses and find out!

Goku Biography


Born to Bardock and Gine on planet Vegeta, Goku is a pureblood low-class Saiyan warrior. Shortly before the planet was destroyed by Frieza, Goku’s parents sent him to Earth so that he could escape the calamity. Found by Grandpa Gohan on Earth, Goku was a typically wild and violent Saiyan baby until he fell into a ravine and suffered a major head injury. This turned him into the lovable goofball we know today.

In his early teens, Goku would meet Bulma Briefs, a young mechanical engineer who was searching for the Dragon Balls to wish for a boyfriend. Accompanying Bulma, Goku would have many adventures and see the world beyond his mountain home for the first time. He would also make many friends along the way such as Oolong, Puar, Yamcha, Tenshinhan, Chaotzu, Krillin, Chichi, and the Ox King. A naturally gifted fighter thanks to his Saiyan heritage, Goku would be trained by Master Roshi, the Turtle Hermit, and participate in the finals of the Tenkaichi Budokai tournament on several occasions. Unfortunately, he’d only win the championship once in a battle against Piccolo.

Over the years Goku would protect the Earth from many threats, and be trained by various masters such as Kami, King Kai, and Whis. He would also start a family with Chichi, producing two sons, Gohan and Goten. Goku would also develop a rivalry with enemy turned friend Vegeta. However, while Vegeta was obsessed with being stronger than Goku, Goku was simply working towards being as strong as he could possibly be. This difference in philosophies has led Goku to outclass Vegeta in terms of raw power even to this day.

In recent events, Goku helped save the multi-verse by participating in the Tournament of Power. It was at this time that he unlocked his most potent transformation: Ultra Instinct. In this mode Goku’s body fights and reacts on pure instinct, giving him exceptional reflexes and attack speed. With this form, he even defeated the powerful sorcerer Moro.

Vegeta Biography


Born to King Vegeta and an unnamed mother on planet Vegeta, Vegeta is the literal Prince of All Saiyans. As a descendent of royalty, Vegeta was overwhelmingly powerful from birth. In the Saiyan caste system, only Vegeta and his father were granted the highest rank of “Elite.” Years later when Frieza recalled all Saiyans to planet Vegeta to exterminate them, Vegeta ignored the order and survived as a result. Along with surviving mid-class Saiyans Nappa and Raditz, Vegeta would be forced to do Freeza’s bidding for years.

After learning of the Dragon Balls due to Raditz’s failed attempt to recruit Goku, Vegeta and Nappa headed to Earth to gather them and wish for immortality in the hopes of overthrowing Frieza. This led to Vegeta and Goku’s first battle in which Vegeta completely outclassed Goku by transforming into his Great Ape form. Though Vegeta would ultimately be defeated in a team effort by Goku, Krillin, Gohan, and Yajirobe, he would live to fight another day.

After the events on planet Namek and the defeat of Freiza at the hands of Goku and Future Trunks, Vegeta would become an ally of the Earth warriors since he had nowhere else to go. The fact that he could have as much food and training at Bulma’s house as he wanted probably had something to do with this as well. As a result, he ended up marrying Bulma and producing two children, Trunks and Bulla. Vegeta and Goku would again clash during the Buu Saga, with Vegeta pulling out another win thanks to his clever use of deception. However, this was not a satisfying victory as he soon learned that Goku was holding back the entire time.

In recent years Vegeta has been training under the God of Destruction, Beerus. This has allowed him to unlock his most potent form yet: Ultra Ego. This form increases his power significantly but has several drawbacks that make it difficult to use. More on that later.

Goku: Powers & Abilities

Goku is a master ki manipulator and martial artist. He has many ki based fighting techniques, so here’s a simplified list of his powers and abilities:

  • Master ki manipulator
  • Master martial artist
  • Ki enhanced strength/speed/reflexes/durability
  • Ki projection
  • Ki sensing
  • Ki supression
  • Kaio-Ken
  • Instant Transmission
  • Evil Containment Wave
  • Super Saiyan transformations
  • Ultra Instinct
  • Flight
  • Zenkai boost
  • Fusion

As a ki user, Goku is superhumanly strong, fast, durable, and agile when channelling his ki. This, combined with his mastery of the martial arts, makes him an extremely powerful foe in hand-to-hand combat. Also, thanks to his mastery of ki projection, he has a wide variety of ranged attacks as well such as his famous Kamehameha.

Goku also has many powerups as well, such as his Kaio-Ken technique which increases his strength at the cost of damaging his body, and his various Super Saiyan transformations which give a flat power increase typically without any drawbacks. It should be noted that Kaio-Ken can be combined with his God-level Super Saiyan forms, but not his normal ones otherwise he’ll likely kill himself.

Goku’s latest and most powerful transformation is Ultra Instinct. This mode is very defence-oriented, allowing the user to automatically dodge most attacks. On top of this, Ultra Instinct also allows the user to counterattack immediately without having to even think about it. This creates perfectly seamless coordination of defence and offence that most foes simply can’t keep up with.

Another notable technique that Goku possesses is Instant Transmission. This skill allows Goku to instantly teleport to any location as long as he can sense a ki signature. Not only does this allow for long-range transportation, but it can also be used tactically in battle as when Goku used it to defeat Pikon in the Other World Tournament, and when he used it to set up a Kamehameha against Cell in the Cell Games.

Vegeta: Powers & Abilities

Being a ki user, many of Vegeta’s abilities are the same as Goku’s but he has a few special techniques of his own. Here’s a quick list:

  • Master ki manipulator
  • Limited destruction energy manipulation
  • Master martial artist
  • Ki enhanced strength/speed/reflexes/durability
  • Ki projection
  • Ki sensing
  • Ki supression
  • Ki binding
  • Spirit Control
  • Super Saiyan transformations
  • Ultra Ego
  • Flight
  • Zenkai boost
  • Fusion

Like Goku, Vegeta is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant thanks to his mastery of ki control. That said, he seems to favour ranged attacks much more than Goku and has several notable ranged techniques such as Final Flash, Big Bang Attack, Final Impact, and Gamma Burst Flash. Vegeta also loves blasting away with ki blast barrages even though they rarely accomplish anything other than kicking up a lot of dust.

One of Vegeta’s most interesting ki manipulation techniques is Final Explosion. Originally this was a suicide attack in which Vegeta releases all of his ki in a massive area of effect blast to try and completely obliterate his opponent at the cost of his own life. However, years later he would learn to perform a variation of this technique without dying in the process. Arguably this would be less powerful since he doesn’t use up every last scrap of his ki, but it is still a devastating attack.

Vegeta also possesses a variety of transformations like Goku, with his most powerful one being Ultra Ego. Unlike Ultra Instinct which brings on a state of perfect inner peace, Ultra Ego is a state of enhanced bloodlust, making it a very offence-oriented transformation. This works well with the fact that the more damage the user takes while in this mode, the more powerful they become.

Another interesting ability that Vegeta has is Spirit Control, with his most notable technique being Forced Spirit Fission. This allows Vegeta to undo Fusion and Absorption techniques such as when he made Moro lose all the ki he had absorbed using his Life Drain technique. Vegeta can also use this technique in reverse and gather energy from other ki users and then send that energy to someone else to revitalize them. From what we’ve seen though, Vegeta can’t use this to forcefully steal ki like Moro’s Life Drain, the ki has to be given willingly, similar to Goku’s Spirit Bomb technique.

Goku: Weaknesses

Goku’s major weakness as explicitly stated by his mentor Whis is that he tends to let his guard down. Since ki users are completely vulnerable when not channelling ki, this can be a fatal mistake. This was seen most notably when Goku let his guard down against Frieza in Ressurection: F only to be shot through the lung from behind by Sorbet using a laser ring.

Another similar weakness that Goku has is his tendency to hold back to try and make fights more interesting. As stated by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, Goku isn’t a crusading hero fighting for justice, he’s just a guy who likes to fight. This being the case Goku has endangered himself and the entire universe by holding back in fights when he should have been taking things more seriously. And of course, this flaw is what allowed Vegeta to defeat Goku in the Buu Saga.

Since Ultra Instinct is Goku’s most powerful transformation at the moment, we should go over its weaknesses as well. Firstly is the fact that the technique is meant for gods, not mortals. This means that both perfecting and maintaining this technique is very difficult, even for Goku. This also means that using Ultra Instinct places a large burden on the body of mortals similar to Kaio-Ken which is also a god-level technique. And like Kaio-Ken, overusing UI can cause serious injury or even death.

Ultra Instinct can also fail if the user gets carless, such as when Whis stepped on poop while training Goku. Considering Goku’s tendency to let his guard down and hold back, this could potentially be a major weakness if he were to lose focus in battle. It should also be noted that Ultra Instinct has a time limit, and tends to become less effective the longer the battle goes on. This was shown when Granolah was able to strike Goku despite the fact that the was in Perfected Ultra Instinct form.

Vegeta: Weakness

Vegeta’s weakness is pretty much the exact opposite of Goku’s. While Goku can be careless and let his guard down, Vegeta tends to overthink things. This causes his reaction times to be a bit slower than Goku’s and Whis even said that this is what causes Vegeta to constantly be one step behind Goku.

Aside from this, Vegeta also has another major psychological weakness: arrogance. In fact, his massive ego has led to several Earth-threatening situations such as Cell reaching his perfect form, and Buu being resurrected. While Vegeta has mellowed out a lot in recent years, his Saiyan pride is still a major flaw that a savvy opponent could easily exploit if they had the cunning to do so.

Ultra Ego also comes with its weaknesses as well, even more so than Ultra Instinct. The problem with Ultra Ego is that for it to work at full power the user must take damage. However, if the user takes too much damage then they will lose the form, and probably the fight. Making things even more difficult is the fact that the form increases the user’s bloodlust. This makes it very hard to walk that fine line of taking damage but not too much without crossing it. Vegeta has yet to master this form, and ended up taking too much damage as a result when he first used it because of his heightened lust for battle.

Vegeta vs Goku: Who Would Win in a Fight?

So, Vegeta already has two wins on Goku, but Goku is objectively more powerful than him at this point. Would “power level working” be enough for Goku to finally get a win over Vegeta? Or would the Prince of All Saiyans figure out a way to outsmart Goku once again?

Let’s be honest here. If Vegeta wanted to trick Goku into letting his guard down and whack him from behind as he did in the Buu Saga, he could probably do it. So let’s throw that scenario out since it’s no fun. Besides, Vegeta probably wants a clean win given his years-long obsession with being more powerful than Goku. We’re also going to throw out either character being able to just destroy the planet they’re on to force a stalemate like Frieza tends to do.

So, in a straight-up fight, who would win, Goku or Vegeta?

Let’s start by comparing Ultra Instinct vs Ultra Ego since these two rivals will likely be fighting in these forms. While described as being “yin and yang” forms, Ultra Ego is actually not a great match for Ultra Instinct. This is because of how heavily defence-oriented UI is. Goku would be able to dodge and counter all of Vegeta’s attacks with ease. Sure, Vegeta would grow stronger as a result, and Ultra Instinct would weaken over time, but could Vegeta actually last long enough to land a blow on Goku when Ultra Instinct is at its weakest? Maybe, maybe not. This would honestly depend on Vegeta’s ability to control his bloodlust and whether or not Goku decides to hold back and draw out the fight instead of fighting as seriously as possible.

Vegeta’s best bet at taking Goku down is going to be Final Explosion. Ultra Instinct’s amazing dodging ability won’t mean jack against a massive AOE explosion like this. If Vegeta can take enough damage to seriously power up Ultra Ego, then use Final Explosion, he stands a very good chance of taking Goku down. However, there is one small problem: Instant Transmission.

WIth Instant Transmission Goku could just teleport away while Vegeta uses Final Explosion, then return to defeat him while he’s in a weakened state. The catch here is that Goku must lock onto someone else’s ki who’s sufficiently far enough away from the blast zone. Could he do this during the heat of battle? Normally, yes. However, Ultra Instinct is a form that puts one into a state of pure instinct as the name implies. It is basically incompatible with strategic thinking, which is why Vegeta was unable to unlock it.

What this means is that Goku would have to snap himself out of the UI mindset to use his ki sense to find someone at just the right distance to get away from Final Explosion. That’s a lot of thinking to do while in a form that heavily relies on no thinking at all. Goku might even lose his UI transformation trying to do this. And if you’re going to say that Goku could just fly out of the blast zone, that isn’t his fighting style. Goku doesn’t run away from enemy attacks, he almost always takes them head-on. Also, it’s doubtful that Ultra Instinct would even allow for that level of strategic thinking.

Anyway, with all of this being the case, we’re giving the win to Vegeta. Yes, he’s not as strong as Goku, and yes, Ultra Ego is inferior to Ultra Instinct in a lot of ways, but his trump card, Final Explosion, is just too good a counter against the purely instinctive nature of UI especially after Vegeta powers up thanks to Ultra Ego.

It’s honestly kind of crazy that in a franchise that’s become almost exclusively about “power level whoring” that brains could beat brawn in a fight between the two main characters. Even so, Vegeta probably won’t feel satisfied until he outclasses Goku in practically every way. Will Goku ever get a win over Vegeta? And will Vegeta ever be satisfied with his wins over Goku? Find out on the next exciting episode of Dragon Ball Z!

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