Every Midoriya Fight Ranked (My Hero Academia)
VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman
WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Alexander
The world's next greatest hero has stacked up a fair amount of wins in his early career! Join Ashley as we look over our picks for Izuku Midoriya's best battles from all across the My Hero Academia franchise, including the bouts against "Bakugo", "Todoroki", "Overhaul", "Muscular", "Gentle Criminal", and more!
Script written by Jonathan Alexander
Every Midoriya Fight Ranked
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re ranking Every Midoriya Fight.
For this list, we’ll be looking at all of Deku’s major brawls across the series so far.
Should we rank the fights of any other “My Hero Academia” character? Let us know in the comments!
#20: Vs. Ending
Sound logic says ambushing the Number One Ranked Hero is a pretty bad idea. Using one of his sons as collateral? That’s even more thick-skulled. But, at least Endeavor’s got three eager interns in his backseat ready for a promotion. Admittedly, this isn’t too much of a fight, since Ending’s name is also an apt descriptor for his quick fate. Todoroki and Endeavor handle the fun stuff, and Deku’s in charge of protecting civilians from the icy-hot crossfire. It’s not as glamorous, but at least he got to show off his new quirk.
#19: Vs. Nejire and Tamaki
When the curtain rises on class 1-A’s training session, two of the Big Three are dressed up as villains. Who knew U.A. had such a robust theater department? Most every first year gets a standing ovation in the cool department during this spar. Well, everyone except for Midoriya. He only gets to throw a single punch, and he chickens out before it even connects. Guess Tamaki’s method acting wasn’t convincing enough. Sure, watching part of the Big Three pretend to be evil is definitely worth the price of admission alone. But, as a Deku fight, it’s underwhelming at best.
#18: Vs. Toga & Mimic
During the raid on the Shie Hassaikai compound, the League of Villains delivered their signature brand of fun fights, especially with a certain One For All inheritor. It may spell bad news for the operation, but Deku should be flattered there’s a villain so excited to see him. His and Togas demented dance of knives, fists, and terror is a high-point, even if it’s over just as soon as it begins. Once the League betrays Overhaul, Deku throws a full-cowling kick against Mimic, and that’s about it. As fun as this brawl is, it’s hard to see it as anything more than a bridge to the bigger fights.
#17: Cavalry Battle
Deku really needs to work on his recruitment skills. After a haphazard team-building session leaves him with a distinct lack of offensive prowess there’s only one strategy left for his group: run away and hope no one catches them. Of course, that won’t work with the likes of Todoroki in the ring. But, while Midoriya is no natural-born leader, this round’s emphasis on teamwork does show off his underutilized social skills. He doesn’t take for granted that his team trusts him to win. So, even though it’s not a resounding success, Deku proves that he’s capable of stepping up to the plate when necessary.
#16: Vs. League of Villains
Impromptu life-and-death fights against hardened criminals wasn’t on the curriculum. But, class 1-A still passed with flying colors. The League of Villains’ assault on the USJ marked the first time Midoriya and the others faced a genuine threat. There was no better time for Deku to prove he could be a hero, and he did just that by using his mind instead of his fists. Sure, the crux of his strategy just involved hitting the other guys really, really hard, but the results are the same nonetheless. Plus, he managed to even make use of Mineta’s quirk, which is definitely worth some extra credit.
#15: Vs. Gran Torino
One of Midoriya’s best qualities is his strategic mindset. But, All Might’s former mentor proves it’s also a weakness. Gran Torino may not be in the physical shape Deku expected, but his quirk is still capable of literally flying laps around villains. In their initial spar, Midoriya can’t lay a finger on him, and that’s no hyperbole. With great power comes great responsibility, and Deku spends too much time overthinking instead of throwing superpowered punches. It’s more an embarrassment than a true fight, but it’s a necessary stepping stone for Deku to learn that super strength means nothing if you don’t know how to use it.
#14: Vs. Camie
The Provisional License Exam was a handful even before love started to bloom on the battlefield. The neighboring schools’ quirky abilities separated most of the U.A. student body, but at least Deku swooped in to save Ochaco. Except, it was actually Camie in disguise, who’s in reality an undercover Toga. Yeah, it’s complicated. Especially since, for most of their bout, it’s unclear if she’s trying to defeat Midoriya, or flirt with him. The inclusion of Camie - sorry, Toga - adds a layer of paranoia to the fight that lets Midoriya flex his keen observational skills. Unfortunately, that alone didn’t help him pass the exam. To do that, he still had to go through Gang Orca.
#13: Vs. Nighteye
Deku has three minutes to get a stamp from a Pro Hero. But, this time, there’s pride on the line, and a lot of it. Nighteye believes Midoriya is unfit to be All Might’s successor, and his Foresight quirk makes his victory a literal matter of time. Seeing Midoriya jump into a fight he’s destined to lose is a bit painful to watch, but at least it nets him a win where it counts. Deku’s real strength has always been his conviction, not his quirk, and that’s what earns Nighteye’s approval. Though, this whole thing could’ve been avoided if he’d managed to make Nighteye laugh in the first place.
#12: Vs. Class 1-B
The rivalry between the first years of U.A. will have to wait - Deku’s got some serious soul-searching to do, first. When his quirk goes haywire, Midoriya has to embrace his newfound ability or risk losing the joint training session. His solution? Not use his quirk at all. But, even powerless, Deku’s long-awaited rematch with Shinso features all the mind-games that made their original a standout. Add in 1-B’s unique slew of abilities, and this clash brims with some of the most creative interactions in the series yet. It’s all in service to a clear character arc for Deku, who tames his power and ends things in suitably smashing fashion.
#11: Vs. Gran Torino (Round 2)
On paper, not much has changed between Deku’s first and second bouts with All Might’s mentor. But, this go-around, Midoriya’s use of full-cowling puts him within spitting range of Gran Torino. That may not seem like much, but compared to their last smackdown, it’s a big improvement. He may not have lasted long in the ring, but what Midoriya lacks in stamina he makes up for with impact. There’s a palpable sense of weight behind each of Midoriya’s attacks that handily sells the scale of this power-up. While he’s technically down two against Gran Torino, Deku learned a lot more than the scoreboard lets on.
#10: Vs. Mirio
This time, it’s not totally Midoriya’s fault that he can’t land a punch. In fact, Deku fared much better than most of his classmates. Though, that’s not saying much. Even though it’s a one on twenty match, Mirio still made this look unfair for Midoriya and the others. Though, it’s hard to blame 1-A too harshly. We’d be frazzled if our opponent got naked in the middle of a fight, too. It’s not really much of a duel in the end, but at least Deku got a front-row seat for one of U.A.’s Big Three in action.
#9: Vs. Shinso
For all intents and purposes, this fight was over before a single fist was thrown. Not just because of the obvious brainwashing quirk, either. Deku’s raw strength was always going to garner more praise than Shinso’s mind-control ability. Instead of focusing on combat, this round of the sports festival is a surprisingly emotional affair about the luck that goes into a quirk-based society. As a result, it’s hard to cheer when Midoriya finally outsmarts Shinso and tosses him from the ring. Deku, of all people, understands the unfairness of the hero world. He knows that if it weren’t for All Might, Midoriya would’ve been even worse off than Shinso.
#8: Vs. Bakugo
This school-sanctioned game of cops and robbers lit the fuse of an age-old rivalry between Kacchan and Midoriya. The issue? Midoriya can’t quite control his quirk just yet. But, that doesn’t mean he’s totally helpless. It’s a good thing Deku’s got some hand-to-hand moves, since Bakugo’s totally aiming to kill. The spar has a propulsive sense of tension, not just because Midoriya’s up against his rival, but also because the wannabe hero has to outmaneuver a much more experienced adversary. It’s a riveting display of willpower that builds to a final smash where Deku truly proved that he, too, could be a hero.
#7: Vs. Gentle Criminal & La Brava
Midoriya has a nasty habit of running into villains on the street. It may sound ridiculous, but there’s something undeniably “Deku” about refusing to sound the alarm so Eri can enjoy the festival. The grounded stakes and interesting battle locales do a lot to set this fight apart, but the best smash comes from Gentle himself. His and La Brava’s backstory lend the conflict a deeper emotional core than it at first seems. As satisfying as it is to see Midoriya clinch a win by himself, there’s a somber feeling that Gentle Criminal and La Brava shouldn’t have been forced into villainy at all.
#6: Vs. Stain
A claustrophobic alleyway is an apt setting for a throwdown with a villain who’s quirk adds new meaning to the phrase “you are what you eat.” Deku and the others have faced enemies before, but never one with this sort of bloodthirsty sense of justice. Thankfully, Midoriya’s new full-cowling buys enough time for Todoroki to join the fray with a well-timed assist. Stain’s paralysis quirk leads to some captivating interactions, but the three-on-one makes it an even playing field of fire and fists. When the music swells and Midoriya combines his talents with the others, the resulting final strike leaves the villain as a different kind of Stain.
#5: Vs. Muscular
With no mercy, no plan, and no backup in sight, it’s time for Midoriya to put his quirk where his mouth is against his most imposing foe yet. The stellar voice acting and incredible music enhances one of the most visceral beatdowns in the entire series. Even with a broken arm, and tears streaming down his face, Deku’s unwavering conviction to save Kota is just the kind of emotional moment no series does better. His willpower inspires Kota to accept Deku as a hero, which leads to a breathtaking one-million percent smash that we still get chills from to this day.
#4: Vs. All Might
It’s final exams, and Midoriya’s up against the former Number One Hero. But, worse than all of that, he’s paired with Bakugo. Their partnership gets off to a predictably rocky start, but the explosive action and incredible animation makes it riveting nonetheless. These two have never had to fight on the same side, which makes the transformation from bitter rivals to begrudging allies all the more gratifying. Sure, it may only amount to Bakugo throwing Deku as hard as he can, but it’s a start. The epic climax doesn’t just cap off an action-packed spectacle of a fight, but also concludes a worthy chapter in the show’s best relationship.
#3: Vs. Overhaul
After everything Eri endured, it’s poetic that she’s the key to doling out some well-deserved payback. Thanks to her reversion quirk, Midoriya’s able to truly cut loose for the first time in, well, ever. The sublime production values convey the sheer scale of One For All at 100% with some bombastic displays of strength. Deku’s made grand declarations before, but it’s all the more powerful when he literally holds the weight of his promise on his back. Against one of the most dangerous criminals in the entire series, this is in serious contention for one of Deku’s best moments, period - if only for how cool that final punch looks.
#2: Vs. Bakugo (Round 2)
There’s no villain under the sun who could antagonize these two more than each other. Even if Midoriya is hesitant to fight, it’s clear neither character will move on until they settle their rivalry. And, courtesy of Bakugo, it goes down with an actual bang. The excellent fight choreography is some of the best the series has to offer, but it’s impressive that the genuine explosions aren’t even the most exciting part. No, that belongs to the emotional heft of seeing these two grapple with All Might’s downfall in different ways. This one brawl single-handedly culminates three seasons of storytelling with an unforgettable display of heart, explosions, and smashes.
#1: Vs. Todoroki
This gloriously animated fight is a spectacle in every sense of the word. There’s so much impact behind each blow that Midorioya begins to run out of fingers to smash. Amazingly, things only heat up further when Todoroki unleashes his flames. With the impeccable “You Say Run” theme rocking in the background, it might be genuinely impossible to resist the epicness of their final confrontation. The mind-blowing animation is only second to the reminder of Deku’s humanity. Even if it meant losing the match, he never stopped trying to stoke Todoroki’s flames. It’s more than the act of a hero, it’s a feat that’s 100% Midoriya, through and through.