One Piece: Is Zoro stronger than Sabo?

Zoro, Luffu
Zoro, Luffy's right-hand man, vs Sabo, Luffy's adoptive brother: a hyphotetical battle between them would be tough (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Of late, the Revolutionary Army has been getting quite the spotlight in One Piece. Among their ranks is Luffy's adoptive brother, Sabo, who is the number two in the group and the right-hand man of the leader, Dragon.

Roronoa Zoro is Luffy's devoted right-hand man and the strongest member of the Strawhat Pirates immediately after him. Zoro and Luffy share several strength-related traits and have a close bond, like Roger and Rayleigh.

Both Zoro and Sabo are very powerful fighters, as well as influential right-hand men. Based on their portrayal and feats, a match between them would be extremely tough, regardless of the winner. Follow this thread to find out who is the stronger One Piece character between Zoro and Sabo.

Disclaimer: This article contains major spoilers from the One Piece manga up to Chapter 1067 and reflects the opinions of the writer.

Zoro and Sabo have the same status as powerful rising fighters in One Piece

Both are prominent right-hand men of great figures of the One Piece world

Zoro is Luffy's number two in the Strawhats, while Sabo is Dragon's number two in the Revolutionary Army (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Zoro is Luffy's number two in the Strawhats, while Sabo is Dragon's number two in the Revolutionary Army (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Zoro and Sabo share the same status as the second strongest members in powerful groups of the One Piece world. Zoro is the right-hand man of Luffy, the captain of the Strawhats Pirates, while Sabo is the right-hand man of Dragon, the leader of the Revolutionary army.

In One Piece, the right-hand man is usually the number two, i.e. the strongest after the leader. As the captain's most loyal subordinate, the right-hand man supports him in battle and gives him insightful advice.

As such, the right-hand man often operates as the first mate, the top officer who ranks only below the captain. Even when not having that formal rank, a right-hand man can hold authority similar to that of a first mate, deriving such prestige from his superior individual strength.

The color spread of One Piece chapter 1031 depicted the line-up of the "number two," the second strongest individuals from the most prominent outlaw groups. Zoro and Sabo were obviously featured in this spread, as prominent members of the category.

The number two needs to be strong to support the captain and replace him if needed. This is what Zoro does in the Strawhat Pirates. In Thriller Bark, he fought Kuma to protect Luffy. In Wano, Zoro used his strength to save Luffy from Kaido and Big Mom on many different occasions.

No other Strawhat receives the same portrayal as Zoro. Even while maintaining a dynamic between him and Sanji, Oda sets Zoro apart. He is put on a higher pedestal of strength, importance and leadership, and is often depicted as someone who is close in power to Luffy.

A testament to that, countless statements in the One Piece manga and even concurring information from the databooks and SBS, including the cover of chapter 1031, declare that Zoro is the second strongest member of the Strawhats.

While not being officially proclaimed as the vice-captain of Strawhats, Zoro factually acts as one, as a result of his strength and influence. He fulfills this role in the best possible way thanks to his attitude and willpower as a Conqueror, his dominant leadership, and his wisdom.

Within the Revolutionary Army, Sabo is a similarly prominent figure for the Strawhats. As Dragon's right-hand man as well as the strongest individual after him, Sabo is noticeably emphasized. He is also the Revolutionary Army's chief of staff.

Sabo acts as a link between Dragon, the supreme leader of the organization, and the main commanders of the local armies. His role is essentially the same as a first mate. However, given that the Revolutionary Army is not a pirate crew, Sabo is ranked as chief of staff.

After the events of One Piece's Levely Arc, Sabo increased his reputation, earning himself the moniker of "Flame Emperor". He has acquired such popularity that his influence among rebels is said to be even greater than that of his boss Dragon.

While the position of "number two" is based on strength, the right-hand man is a role which involves not only power, but personal loyalty as well. Zoro and Sabo fulfill these requirements. This highlights them as two prominent individuals, who are close in both strength and sentiment to their leaders.

Both are fraternal figures to Luffy

Both Zoro and Sabo are not only powerful fighters, but brotherly figures to Luffy (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
Both Zoro and Sabo are not only powerful fighters, but brotherly figures to Luffy (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

The connection between Zoro and Luffy is similar to that between Rayleigh and Gol D. Roger. Possessing the very rare Conqueror's Haki just like their captains, Zoro and Rayleigh aren't merely subordinates but powerful individuals who are strong enough to be compared to their leaders.

While the other Strawhats joined Luffy after receiving his help, Zoro didn't need the latter to protect him. He joined him out of spontaneous trust, believing in his vision. As a result, the connection between Luffy and Zoro is special.

When Zoro first met Luffy, he made it clear that he would kill him if he ever hindered his dream to become the World's Strongest Swordsman. However, in many battles and other circumstances, Zoro selflessly stepped in and risked his life to protect Luffy.

Luffy and Zoro make a formidable duo in One Piece. Within the Strawhat Pirates, these two are the only ones to reach certain achievements, such as using the all-powerful Advanced Conqueror's Haki or fighting the Emperors in the fierce battle on Onigashima's rooftop.

While Zoro acts as a sort of a brother to Luffy, Sabo is the latter's adoptive sibling. Moreover, Sabo became the right-hand man of Monkey D. Dragon, who is Luffy's biological father. This coincidence further intertwines the bond between the two sworn brothers in the One Piece series.

During their childhood, Ace used to mock Luffy, while Sabo encouraged him. Prior to his departure, Sabo asked Ace to take care of Luffy as their younger brother. Unfortunately, while trying to protect Luffy, Ace died.

When Sabo finally regained his memory, he resolved to protect his remaining brother, at all costs. One Piece featured Luffy and Sabo finally meeting again in Dressrosa, where they tearfully embraced each other.

During the Dressrosa Arc, Sabo came to Luffy's aid several times, even protecting him from Jesus Burgess who tried to kill him. He later entrusted Luffy's well-being to Zoro and the other Strawhat Pirates, similar to what Ace did during the Alabasta Arc.

Zoro's abilities and feats compared to Sabo's

With his Foxfire Style and his superior Haki, Zoro is clearly advantaged over Sabo (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
With his Foxfire Style and his superior Haki, Zoro is clearly advantaged over Sabo (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Both Zoro and Sabo are very powerful fighters. At this point in the series, they are strong enough to put up a solid fight against most Admirals and Emperors. For instance, either Admiral Fujitora or former Emperor Big Mom would likely be pushed to a highly difficult battle to pull out a win against either Zoro or Sabo.

A master swordsman, Zoro performs destructive slashes and deadly cuts with his three swords coated in Haki. Sabo relies on the power of his Flame-Flame Fruit, which enables him to create and control fire, which he uses in conjunction with his martial art style - the Dragon Claw Fist - and his Haki.

Even before unlocking the all-powerful Advanced Conqueror's Haki, Zoro was already a threatening fighter in One Piece. He overpowered his fellow Supernovas, Hawkins, Killer, and Apoo. He and Luffy later fought alongside Kid, Killer, and Law, in a heated battle against Kaido and Big Mom.

Zoro was able to block the two Emperors' combined attack. He also severely injured Kaido, leaving him with a scar. After upgrading his Haki to the next level, Zoro improved his abilities and brutally defeated Kaido's number two, King - the last survivor of the Lunarians.

Sabo easily defeated Vice Admiral Bastille and Blackbeard Pirates member Jesus Burgess. He was also able to stall Admiral Fujitora, although the latter was likely not making a full effort, as Sabo himself suspected.

During the Levely, Sabo and the other commanders of the Revolutionary Army fended off Fujitora and Ryokugyu and managed to rescue Kuma. However, on that issue, the two Admirals couldn't fight at their best, having to hold back their powers to not damage Mary Geoise.

Considering all their feats and abilities, Zoro appears to be stronger than Sabo. While both are excellent users of Armament Haki, Zoro is also able to unleash the all-powerful Advanced Conqueror's Haki, an ability that according to Kaido only a few among the mightiest characters can perform.

Conversely, Sabo is unable to use that game-changing power. With Haki being repeatedly portrayed through the One Piece series as the greatest and most decisive factor, the fact that Zoro's Haki is stronger than Sabo's is a very compelling point.

To this day, Zoro has shown greater feats of endurance, physical strength and speed. He was able to block a combined attack from Kaido and Big Mom, allowing his comrades to get to safety. None of the other Supernovas, including Luffy, had the speed to intercept that attack and the power to block it.

Even after being struck and severely injured by that attack, Zoro continued to fight at a high level against the Emperors. Later, Zoro showcased his speed, proving himself fast enough to keep up with King, even reacting to the enhanced speed of Kaido's right-hand man and successfully counterattacking him.

There's little doubt that Sabo is a tough and skilled warrior in his own right, but at the moment his feats don't match those of Zoro's. The green-haired pirate has shown that he can move at higher speeds, react quicker, endure greater injuries, and exert greater physical strength than Sabo.

Sabo's power heavily relies on the devastating fire techniques he can perform using the Flame-Flame Fruit abilities. While this is a great resource, it loses its effectiveness against Zoro, who is able to use the Foxfire Style, which allows him to cut through every kind of fire.

Relying on this ability, Kinemon was able to slash through Kaido's Boro Breath, despite the enormous gap in power between him and the Emperor. Thus, Zoro, who is as strong as Sabo, if not even stronger, would definitely be able to cut the latter's Flame-Flame techniques, gaining a massive edge on him.

Infusing his swords with Conqueror's Haki, Zoro was able to slice apart King's Fire Dragon Emperor, a technique that created a gigantic flaming monster. King's Lunarian fire was stated to be comparable to magma, which in One Piece, is much stronger than fire.

Despite this, Zoro's attack destroyed King's magma monster and slashed the latter himself. In the process, Zoro even broke King's sword in half, despite it being coated in Armament Haki, which usually should prevent swords from breaking.

Impressively enough, Zoro achieved that feat without needing to use the Conqueror's Haki-coated version of his strongest attacks, i.e. the Billion-Fold World Trichiliocosm and the Nine Sword Style: Ashura.

If Zoro were to use these techniques in conjunction with his Haki and Foxfire Style against Sabo's fire-based martial arts techniques, the latter would likely stand no chance of winning the clash. Against a superior Haki user who also has the advantage of being able to cut fire, there's little Sabo could do.

Final Thoughts

An hypothetical battle between Zoro and Sabo would be amazing, but the outcome is hardly disputable (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)
An hypothetical battle between Zoro and Sabo would be amazing, but the outcome is hardly disputable (Image via Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, One Piece)

Despite their young age, Zoro and Sabo are powerful enough to stand against Emperor and Admirals. They also have a lot of untapped potential to develop, meaning that they can become even stronger than they currently are.

Their status, feats, and abilities make Zoro and Sabo two mighty individuals of comparable strength. However, Zoro appears to be even stronger than Sabo. If the two were to clash, the swordsman would most likely be the winner of the fight.

Zoro can infuse his attacks with Conqueror's Haki, a feat that puts him among the strongest characters in One Piece. Lacking this ability, Sabo's Haki is inferior to Zoro's. Moreover, his physical prowess hasn't been highlighted as much as the green-haired swordsman's.

Before unlocking the next stage of his Conqueror's Haki, Zoro was already strong enough to fend off Kaido and Big Mom, even inflicting a severe injury on the former. After upgrading his abilities, Zoro annihilated King, a fighter of the same caliber as Marco and Katakuri.

In comparison, Sabo was only able to slightly injure Admiral Fujitora, who is not as strong and tough as Kaido. Although Sabo is most likely stronger than King, he is yet to win a 1v1 battle against someone as powerful as the number two of an Emperor.

Another important aspect is that Sabo's strongest attacks involve the Flame-Flame Fruit powers, which Zoro can completely counter using his Foxfire Style. This would grant Zoro a noticeable advantage over Sabo.

Factoring in his superior Haki and physical endurance, as well as his favorable fire-cutting ability, Zoro would end up overwhelming Sabo's martial arts and Devil Fruit combo. While Zoro is almost certain to win the fight, it would still be a difficult challenge. Sabo certainly is no pushover.

However, the battle between these two is just a hypothetical scenario based on a comparison of their capabilities. One Piece will never feature Zoro and Sabo fighting each other, given that they are on the same side as Luffy's closest crewmate and his adoptive brother, respectively.