Needless to say, Zoro had his fair share of extremely difficult bouts in the One Piece series.
For the most part, anytime the Straw Hat Pirates take on a group of adversaries, Luffy always fights the strongest one. If Zoro isn't fighting alongside his captain, then he is fighting the second toughest enemy. The swordsman sets a very clear bar for him to jump over.
Despite winning most of his fights, there are times when Zoro doesn't have it easy. Not every opponent ends up as disappointing as the New Fishman Pirates. On the contrary, Zoro often goes up against the strongest characters in the One Piece series. The article will contain manga spoilers to stay up to date.
10 most powerful opponents that Zoro ever faced in One Piece
10) Mr. 1
Near the climax of the Alabasta arc, Zoro faced a very difficult challenge. He needed to take out Mr. 1, who possessed the Supa Supa no Mi. This allowed him to turn himself into steel.
By this point in One Piece, Zoro had yet to cut through steel. However, by the end of the battle, he somehow finishes the job with his one sword technique, Ittoryu Iai: Shishi Sonson. By defeating Mr. 1, Zoro was one step closer to becoming a better swordsman.
During the Skypiea Arc, the Straw Hats needed to save the island's inhabitants from a power hungry god. Enel was a very dangerous opponent that Zoro didn't stand a chance against. He ate the Goro Goro no Mi, which allows him to transform into lightning.
Even with the numbers advantage, Zoro and the Straw Hats (sans Luffy) were clearly outmatched. Zoro went down with a single lightning strike (Kiten).
Zoro and Killer are often seen as direct counterparts, similar to Luffy and Kid. One Piece fans finally got to see the two square off during Wano Country. However, Killer was assuming a secret identity, so Zoro didn't even know at the time.
A lot of blood was spilled in the snowy region of Ringo. Zoro and Killer were evenly matched until the very end. After Zoro was distracted by a third party, Killer struck through his shoulder with a scythe.
However, Zoro ended up using it against Killer, pulling out the scythe and performing a Three Sword Style technique. Kid's first mate went down, but certainly not without a fight.
King proved yet again why Yonko commanders are not to be taken lightly. Kaido's first mate was matched against Zoro during the Onigashima Raid in the Wano Country arc.
The Lunarian was able to deflect many powerful blows from Zoro. Due to his fire manipulation, King was able to switch between high speed and low defense or high defense and low speed.
Eventually, Zoro figured out the trick and finished the fight with a ridiculously powerful technique, En-Ō Santōryū: Ippyakusanjo Hiryu Jigoku.
6) Bartholomew Kuma
Kuma's arrival at the end of Thriller Bark was a major turning point for One Piece. By this point, the Straw Hats couldn't deal with such a powerful enemy, given how they just fought Gecko Moria.
With the use of his Nikyu Nikyu no Mi, Kuma could repel anything that he touches, including abstract concepts.
Zoro didn't stand a chance against Kuma, but that didn't stop him from trying to save his captain. The latter agrees to a deal, where he would leave on the condition that Zoro withstood Luffy's pain.
The Admiral was quite easily the most powerful fighter in the Dressrosa saga. Fujitora is a blind swordsman with incredibly advanced Haki, particularly with his Observation. He could also use the Zushi Zushi no Mi, which allows him to manipulate gravity.
Zoro briefly clashed with the Admiral, who forced the swordsman down into a hole. By this point in One Piece, Zoro wasn't ready to fight him and his Devil Fruit.
Speaking of Admirals in One Piece, Zoro seems to have bad luck with them. After Luffy punched a Celestrial Dragon in Sabaody Archipelago, Kizaru was sent to deal with the matter. He proceeded to show off his powers with the Pika Pika no Mi, which lets him turn into light itself.
Zoro had no way of dealing with a Logia user by this point. He was nearly killed before Rayleigh saved the day.
3) Dracule Mihawk
The Baratie arc was a difficult learning curve for Zoro. For the first time in One Piece history, he was completely outmatched by a superior fighter.
Mihawk is currently the best swordsman in the world, a title that Zoro wants to claim for himself. However, when both of them finally dueled, Mihawk didn't bother using his legendary Yoru. Instead, he resorted to using his Kogatana, a pitifully small knife.
Mihawk demonstrated why he is among the elite fighters in the One Piece series. Zoro is nearly killed by a slash across his chest. However, the swordsman ends up surviving and promises Luffy to never lose again.
2) Big Mom
The Onigashima Raid really took off when Zoro and the Supernovas teamed up to fight Kaido and Big Mom.
Although Zoro doesn't interact with Big Mom that much, he was able to tank a powerful lightning attack from her. Thanks to Law, Zoro also barely survived a combined attack from the two Yonko.
Hakai was arguably the most dangerous attack in the One Piece series, yet Zoro walked away with broken bones.
For the longest time, One Piece fans have been waiting for Zoro to fight Kaido. Some even theorized that Zoro would land the finishing blow on the World's Strongest Creature.
Zoro was able to do something that not many One Piece characters can do. He gave Kaido a permanent scar with his Conqueror's Haki and the Nine Sword Style (Ashura Bakkei: Moja no Tawamure).
Unfortunately, Kaido gets right back up and crushes Zoro with his Raime Hakke technique. At the very least, the swordsman still put up a good fight against the biggest threat in the One Piece series.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.