Dragon Ball: 5 times Goku was embarrassingly weak (& 5 times he proved he’s the strongest)

Ultra Instinct Goku vs Jiren in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)
Ultra Instinct Goku vs Jiren in Dragon Ball Super (Image via Toei Animation)

Dragon Ball has lots of iconic moments, and Goku’s incredible feats of strength are part of many of them. But he has not always been the strongest fighter, and even the protagonist has been defeated a few times.

We will present five times Goku was incredibly weak against an opponent. Either it was because of a previous fight, a sickness, or just facing someone much stronger than him. But we will also show five times he proved no one could compare to him in Dragon Ball.

Disclaimer: This list will be based upon the author’s opinions and have no order. It contains spoilers for Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super.

What are Goku’s weakest and strongest moments during Dragon Ball?

Goku, at his most fragile

1)His first fight against King Piccolo


After Goku defeats Tambourine, King Piccolo arrives to see who was able to kill one of his lackeys. When he finds Goku, they immediately engage in a fight, and Goku seems to be winning at first, landing blow after blow on the evil being.

But after King Piccolo stands up again, he quickly overpowers Goku, beating him and torturing him for a long time. The former is only toying with the Saiyan during this fight, showing him that no matter what, he will never be able to defeat him.

Piccolo decides to finish him with a single ki blast when he gets bored.

Goku can avoid the first one, but the second one hits him directly, stopping his heart momentarily. It is one of the first times Goku realized his lack of strength against an opponent and one of the worst defeats he has ever faced in Dragon Ball.

2) His first time meeting Beerus


When Beerus wakes up from his fifteen-year nap at the start of Dragon Ball Super, he asks Whis to help him find a Super Saiyan God, a being he saw in a prophetic dream. This search brings him to North Kai’s planet, where Goku is training.

Upon learning about Beeru’s strength, Goku gets excited and asks the God of Destruction for a fight, to which Beerus accepts. Goku cannot land even a single blow against his opponent, not even when he powers up to Super Saiyan 3.

Beerus decides to end the fight with a single move, landing a soft hit on Goku’s neck, leaving the Saiyan unconscious for a long time. Even when the latter could give him a fight after that, their first fight will always be one of Dragon Ball’s quickest and most one-sided matches.

3) Kaioken and Spirit Bomb vs Frieza


During Goku’s fight against Frieza, he is capable of what no other being in the universe could do until that moment, hit the Emperor. But as the fight progresses, Goku notices his strength draining while Frieza is still in good shape.

Goku tries a lot of different techniques and attacks to defeat Frieza, but nothing seems to work. So, he uses the Kaioken to multiply his power level and defeat his opponent with a direct hit. And he is successful in hitting Frieza.


But not even the Kaioken could defeat him, as Frieza quickly gets up and starts beating Goku senseless. The only thing that could kill him now is a Spirit Bomb, and Goku starts charging it up while Piccolo distracts their foe.

After hitting Frieza directly with it, our heroes start to relax and laugh about their luck in defeating him until Frieza comes back and shoots a ki blast at Piccolo, exploding Krillin not soon after. Nothing seemed to work against Frieza, and this will always remain one of Dragon Ball’s more tragic defeats.

4) Goku vs Android 19


During Dragon Ball Z’s Android Saga, the group was alerted by Future Trunks about two mechanical monsters that will appear three years from that day. So, our heroes get to work and start training to be able to defeat these Androids.

When they find them, after rescuing Yamcha, who was ambushed and gravely injured, Goku starts to fight against Android 19. Initially, the lack of knowledge Gero had about the Super Saiyans made the battle easy for Goku. But the heart virus Trunks warned him about starts to manifest.


Goku loses control of the fight quickly, and Senzu Beans are making the problem worse. Android 19 takes the opportunity and starts to punch Goku nonstop until he can no longer move.

Luckily for him, Vegeta arrived at the right time and took on the fight. A lousy defeat for Goku, and all because of a virus.

5) Super Saiyan Blue vs Jiren


When Goku started the fight against Jiren, it was apparent to him that he would not be able to win with just Super Saiyan Blue. Goku could do nothing against Jiren’s constant attacks and counters to his moves even in this powerful form.

After Jiren thought he had already defeated Goku by pushing him out of the arena, the latter used his Super Saiyan Blue and Kaioken combo to try and beat Jiren. But not even that was capable of damaging the Pride Trooper, who is capable of evading with ease even Kamehameha’s.


Goku later realizes that there is no realistic way for him to defeat Jiren, but he must keep fighting because his teammates trust him. Even when faced with this impossible opponent, Goku holds faith in his friends and confidence in his power.

It was a devastating loss for Goku and a moment that defined his character.

Goku is the strongest there is

1) Overpowering Frieza


After Frieza decides to kill Krilin as revenge against Goku, the Saiyan is able to access the power of a Super Saiyan for the first time in Dragon Ball. Frieza’s previously overwhelming power is nothing to the Saiyan in this form.

Frieza’s pride is shattering, and he even talks with the Saiyan to let him power up to 100%, but not even that is enough for Frieza to defeat Goku. Our protagonist’s power is several times bigger than the Emperor’s, and this is angering him more and more.


After Frieza’s last-ditch attempt at killing Goku with two ki discs while he is turned back, Goku tricks the Emperor into hitting himself with his attacks. Frieza is beaten, and Goku has no fun fighting anymore, deciding to give him some energy to leave the planet before it explodes.

However, Frieza decided to use this power to attempt to kill Goku once more, failing again.

2) Defeating Recoome, Burter, and Jeice alone


After Goku arrives at planet Namek after training in his spaceship, he can sense some powerful ki signatures near his friends and decides to investigate quickly. After seeing his son and friends in a terrible condition, Goku decides he will fight against the Ginyu Force.

Recoome becomes impatient and decides to attack Goku out of nowhere, but the Saiyan is able to appear in front of him in the blink of an eye and knock him out with a single punch, impressing everyone around him.


Burter and Jeice decide to attack the Saiyan together. Still, even when using all their strength together, they cannot land a single hit on Goku, who moves so fast they can’t even touch him, appearing intangible.

After embarrassing them for a while, Goku defeats Burter with a single hit, leaving him unconscious on the ground. He tells Jeice they cannot defeat him and give up the fight and retreat.

Jeice leaves instantly, and Goku decides to let the Ginyu Force retreat, but Vegeta kills them immediately. It is one of the best displays of Goku’s strength in Dragon Ball Z.

3) Fighting Beerus after his Super Saiyan God runs out


After Goku can access the Super Saiyan God form, he has a rematch against Beerus to keep the God of Destruction calm. Compared to their last encounter, the match is pretty equal, and Goku can keep up with Beerus’ pace with no problem.

But as the fight continues, Goku’s godly power starts to disappear, and Beerus starts to gain ground quickly. The protagonist is sent to the Earth with a powerful blow from the God, and he gets angry when the idea of Beerus destroying his home returns to his mind.

Goku powers back to his Super Saiyan 1 form, and even in that form, he gives Beerus quite the fight, even when it is for a few moments. He can even land a massive Kamehameha directly into the God, although it does not do much.

This is one of Dragon Ball Super’s most impressive displays of strength.

4) Ultra Instinct vs Kefla


Kefla was born when Caulifla and Kale fused during Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power. Her power increases exponentially, and she can overpower Goku in his Super Saiyan God form when he was dominating before.

Goku turns into Super Saiyan Blue to fight against this new and powerful opponent, and Kefla decides to turn into a Super Saiyan. Their power seems equal for a while, with neither able to damage the other.

However, Goku decides to end the fight and uses his Kaioken at the same time, but even then, he is overpowered by Kefla, who attempts to eliminate him.

Goku enters his Ultra Instinct form and avoids every one of Kefla’s attacks. After that, he takes total control of the battle, dodging every hit and cornering the female Saiyan in a desperate attempt to defeat him with one last ki blast.

Goku uses his own Kamehameha to surf the powerful attack and eliminates the fusion.

5) Ultra Instinct vs Jiren first fight


After Goku’s Spirit is redirected at him by Jiren, everyone thinks he is out of the fight, only to be surprised when he gets back up in an even more potent form. His Ultra Instinct awakens for the first time in Dragon Ball Super, and the real fight against Jiren begins.

The punches that Jiren could land before without a problem are now easy for Goku to avoid, and not even the help of Jiren’s teammates is enough to stop the Saiyan’s new form. Jiren asks them to stand down and turns to face Goku alone.

Goku’s power appears to be equal to Jiren’s, with 17 commenting how he has closed the power gap, while Piccolo adds that the protagonist is getting even stronger than Jiren.

Goku’s speed becomes too much for Jiren, and he receives a punch that sends him flying to the ground. Unfortunately, Saiyan’s Ultra Instinct is not mastered at that point, and he turned back down into base form, allowing Jiren to defeat him.

But even then, Goku’s demonstration of power for that moment placed him above even Jiren. A great demonstration of his strength and potential during Dragon Ball Super.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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