Login Now!

OR   Sign in with Google   Sign in with Facebook
VOICE OVER: Rudolph Strong WRITTEN BY: Jack O'Regan
Heroic feats don't come easy! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for top 20 superheroes who are best in close combat. Our countdown includes superheroes Iron Fist, Natasha Romanoff, Moon Knight and more!

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for top 20 superheroes who are best in close combat. While anti-heroes will be considered, supervillains have a list of their own. Which heroes did we miss? Which villains could beat them all in the ring? Let us know in the comments.

#20: Moon Knight

During his stints as a US Marine and mercenary, Marc Spector learned a variety of martial arts techniques. He also developed the ability to withstand high levels of pain. Marc’s tolerance for punishment came in handy when he fought Taskmaster, a villain who replicates an opponent’s moves. After realizing that Moon Knight would take heavy blows to create his own openings, the antagonist chose not to copy his foe’s style. Outside of Marc’s offensive approach, his unorthodox fighting tactics always keep foes guessing. He’s even been able to keep up with Iron Fist on certain occasions. Whether you’re a friend or foe, you don’t want to mess with Marc.

#19: Gamora

Before joining the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora had a reputation as one of the universe’s most feared assassins. After being adopted by Thanos at a young age, the Mad Titan turned his adopted daughter into a relentless killing machine. Gamora simultaneously learned how to take down legions of warriors and quietly assassinate enemies. Not only is she reliable on the battlefield, but she can take down intimidating foes like The Thing with just a nerve strike. Since Gamora also has physical enhancements, there’s serious strength behind her skills. You really don’t want to find out first hand why she’s the “deadliest woman in the galaxy”.

#18: Dick Grayson

Dick Grayson’s natural acrobatic talents definitely came in handy when he first started training as Robin. He was able to bring his natural athleticism to training that emphasized precise strikes. By the time Dick got out in the field, he had become an agile fighter that could easily dodge blows and hit back with a devastating technique. His ability to blend different styles on the fly also helped him keep up with tremendous opponents like Deathstroke and even Batman. It’s no wonder that Dick was entrusted to take up the mantle of the dark knight. He definitely has the skills to shut down any threat in Gotham and beyond.

#17: Steve Rogers [AKA Captain America]

It’s well known that Steve Rogers was pushed to the limits of human performance by a super soldier injection. However, he doesn’t coast on the serum alone. Cap has honed his boxing abilities and learned to use his enhanced reflexes to keep enemies on their toes. While he’s mostly known for his shield skills, he’s proven he doesn’t need his iconic weapon to win. Cap has gladly taken on villains and his own superpowered friends barehanded. In some realities, he’s even managed to defeat himself. Steve is never afraid to punch above his weight class. Since he’s constantly improving his mind and body, he’s ready for any battle.

#16: Bronze Tiger

At a young age, Ben Turner realized that he had issues controlling his rage. So, he did what anyone would do and trained in martial arts until he became a grandmaster. Turner initially just used his lethal skillset to assassinate people. However, he started becoming more of an anti-hero who didn’t kill everyone he defeated after being brought in to lead the Suicide Squad. Throughout Turner’s long career, he’s proven that he can hold his own against masters like Deathstroke and the Dark Knight. The Bronze Tiger has shown he’s capable of teaching by taking on students like Jason Todd and Cassandra Cain. Anyone who faces Turner must watch out for his claws and his fists.

#15: Karnak

Like the other Inhumans, Karnak is naturally stronger and faster than most human beings. But unlike his brethren, he wasn’t given any extra superpowers. Karnak spent most of his formative years honing his fighting skills to extraordinary levels. Along the way, he learned how to sense the flaws in inanimate objects and living opponents. Karnak has sliced through robots, cut through diamonds, and brought down an entire building. His flaw sensing ability also allowed him to break out of an illusion set by the omega level mutant Jean Grey. Karnak’s incredible feats have fittingly earned him the nickname: The Shatterer. In battle, he can break his enemies in a single blow.

#14: Natasha Romanoff

Natasha was trained from an early age to become a deadly Black Widow. Additionally, she was given implants that help slow the aging process and allow her to quickly bounce back from injuries. When Natasha’s training and physical enhancements are combined with her natural athleticism and intellect, you get one deadly fighter. Black Widow has routinely taken down physically stronger opponents by using strategy or their own momentum against them. She’s also faced aliens and multiple opponents without blinking. Long after escaping the Black Widow program, she continued to master multiple fighting disciplines. And Natasha only gets more dangerous when she wields weapons in battle. But even without her trademark gauntlets, Black

#13: Elektra Natchios

Elektra Natchios began fighting when her father agreed to train her as a way to cope with her mother’s death. Depending on who you ask, this may not have been the best idea. Falling on both sides of the moral spectrum, Elektra trained with the moral master Stick and dangerous Hand ninjas. Through her training, she became a deadly weapon who could block out pain and slow her own bleeding if she so desired. Elektra is also so light on her feet that it occasionally feels like she has superspeed. As a testament to her abilities, she was able to step into the mantle of Daredevil without missing a beat. Elektra truly is a fearless fighter.

#12: Peter Parker [AKA Spider-Man]

While Spider-Man is famously known for his super strength and clever use of webs, his hand-to-hand skills shouldn’t be underrated either. His acrobatic skills allow him to gracefully dispatch opponents. Spider-Man’s incredible reflexes and spider-sense also make it incredibly hard for most opponents to land a clean hit on him. As further proof of his talent, he learned how not to lean so heavily on his spider-sense. After temporarily losing the ability, Peter trained with Shang-Chi to create a fighting form called the way of the spider. This new martial arts style gave the arachnid themed hero a lot more bite. Not only could Peter compensate for his weaknesses, but he gained an entirely new strength to wield against opponents.

#11: Lady Shiva

Lady Shiva’s fighting ability is so prestigious it’s said to be an honor to be trained by her. In the past, Bronze Tiger, Cassandra Cain, and even Batman have taken her lessons to heart. Shiva earned her reputation by mastering combat styles previously lost to time. She’s also an expert at reading body language perfectly. This subtle skill allows her to predict her opponents’ moves with frightening accuracy. When it’s time to end the fight, Shiva can do just that with a brutal finishing move named the Leopard Blow. If you value your life, don’t put this master’s skills to the test.

#10: Dinah Laurel Lance [AKA Black Canary]

The main reason that Black Canary is such a legendary fighter comes down to the fact that she’s had an incredible series of teachers. She studied with pro boxer Wildcat, learned Amazonian fighting styles from Wonder Woman, and trained with Lady Shiva herself. Dinah’s considerable amount of training gave her the ability to keep up with martial arts experts and metahumans alike. Although Dinah has her canary cry ability, she honestly doesn’t need to rely on it to take down opponents. She’s taken down tough opponents like Huntress and gave the Kryptonian Superboy serious training without raising her voice. Black Canary routinely proves why she has a longstanding spot on the Justice League roster.

#9: Black Panther

Although he was always in line to inherit the powers of the Black Panther, T’Challa never took his birthright for granted. He mastered martial arts from all across the world. Over time, T’Challa created his own unpredictable fighting style by blending what he learned together. When the time came to take the mantle of Black Panther, T’Challa gained enhanced speed and strength. He also gained access to the combat memories of all those who came before him. T’Challa’s combination of experience and intelligence make him hard to outwit or outmatch. Even when he’s not wearing his trademark vibranium suit, he’s still an incredibly formidable opponent.

#8: Cassandra Cain

Since Cassandra was the daughter of two skilled assassins, she was forced to learn how to fight before learning any other skills. Her harsh upbringing led to her becoming one of the deadliest young warriors the world had ever seen. Like her mother Lady Shiva, Cassandra knows how to expertly read an opponent's body language. The young fighter had such extraordinary combat skills that professional analysts couldn’t believe that she wasn’t a metahuman. Cassandra’s ability to take severe hits and keep on going also make her difficult to take down. Over the years, her skills have made her a key member of the Bat-family. She also has the impressive distinction of being one of the few to beat Lady Shiva in a straight up fight.

#7: Richard Dragon

Sometimes a character’s list of students tells you all you need to know about them. Richard Dragon has taught martial arts to Lady Shiva, Bronze Tiger, Black Canary and most of the Bat family. Why is he such a sought after master? First off, it’s been said that Dragon is an expert in virtually every martial art on Earth. That means that any fighter will have trouble coming up with a move he hasn’t already mastered. Dragon is also good at figuring out the strengths and weaknesses of a given opponent in a short time. While he might not be the most well-known DC Fighter out there, he’s definitely the most underrated martial artist in the universe.

#6: Wolverine

Even if you took away Logan’s metal claws and skeleton, you still wouldn’t want to face this opponent in the ring. Thanks to his mutant abilities, he’s lived for over a hundred of years. Logan’s long lifespan allowed him to spend a century gaining combat experience while learning dozens of fighting techniques. Although he has the prowess to target pressure points to overwhelm opponents, he often prefers to approach each fight like an absolute brawler. But assuming Logan is just a wild animal would be a mistake. Wolverine has a keen battle instinct that allows him to improvise brilliant solutions on the fly. Every time he comes out ahead, we remember he’s the best at what he does.

#5: Shang-Chi

Although Shang-Chi doesn’t technically have superpowers, he’s such a formidable fighter that he is considered superhuman by many of Marvel’s heroes. Shang-Chi has moved fast enough to dodge bullets and has even caught one with his own teeth! Thanks to his mastery of chi, he can also sense opponents and enhance his own already impressive skills. Shang-Chi’s fantastic resume has led him to be invited to several superhero organizations. He’s also trained several heroes in the past. While Shang-Chi can pick up and use regular and mystical weapons, he’ll always be known best for what he can do with his bare hands.

#4: Karate Kid

No, we’re not talking about New Jersey’s own Daniel Larusso. The Karate Kid we’re focusing on is named Val Armorr. Although this DC character has no superpowers to speak of, he makes up for that fact by having a total mastery of pretty much all of Earth’s fighting techniques. Karate Kid also instinctively knows exactly where to hit an opponent for maximum damage. On top of his physical prowess, his mental skills are also superb. He can shake off brainwashing and any pain he receives and keep fighting. Karate Kid also got into the Legion of Superheroes after holding his own in a one-on-one duel against superboy. Sorry Daniel Larusso, but we don’t think a crane kick would be enough to defeat DC’s Karate Kid.

#3: Iron Fist

Danny Rand is the champion of K’un-Lun, one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. Within that prestigious palace, he mastered several forms of otherworldly martial arts. Danny also learned how to gain full control of his chi. After completing his training by taking down a literal dragon, he claimed the power of its heart in his fist. But the Iron Fist is so much more than the name implies. With chi control, Danny can speed up the healing process of himself and others, and even punch spirits out of possessed opponents. This martial artist has been able to knock out the nearly invincible Luke Cage and cracked a helicarrier! Danny Rand actually might be more intimidating than a dragon.

#2: Batman

The dark knight may be the most famous superhero who doesn’t have powers. Despite a lack of enhanced abilities, he’s taken down too many metahumans and aliens to count. Batman’s gadgets certainly help. But at the root of it all is his vast fighting experience. In many realities, Bruce Wayne graduates from League of Assassins training with high honors and serious skills. Thanks to a photographic memory, he’s memorized over 100 martial arts and can take in more at any time. Batman’s immense discipline and determination allows him to push past limits and stay in fights even after taking hard hits. He’s also a brilliant strategist who can find a way to turn the tables on an enemy. Batman simply doesn’t need powers to deal out justice.

#1: Daredevil

Matt Murdock was born into a boxing family. To use an analogy from the sport, he grew up to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in comics. After losing his sight, he gained enhanced senses and trained with martial arts masters. Matt gained an ability to detect his opponents even if they’re on the other side of a wall. His sharp senses allow him to do everything from identify an opponent’s heart rate to predict that a teleporting character will arrive. Since Matt is extremely athletic and blends multiple martial arts, his opponents regret every time he comes at them. He’s fearlessly taken down some of the toughest heroes and villains with his fists alone. Matt’s a beast when he lets the devil out.