Cobra Kai's Season 5 was a fast-paced ride with plenty of twists and turns. The season also provided some of the most intense fights in the series, with some of the best fighters in the series establishing their dominance over the others.
The karate war really kicks into high gear this season as well. With the introduction of Chozen as a series regular, the skill levels are at an all-time high, but the odds are even with the new Cobra Kai sensei. Now it’s just a matter of who’ll come out on top.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Sam LaRusso’s arc this season was one of self-reflection. Last season, she let her personal vendetta and fear take over her mind. Dirty referee or no, Tory Nichols dominated her for most of the fight. Points-wise, she still would have won, Terry simply tainted the victory.
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This season, Sam spends a lot of time fixing herself and repairing the bridges she’s burned because of karate. While she doesn’t get the rematch with Tory that she (and fans) wanted, she’s in a much better place mentally than either Devon or Tory, and garners more victories this season than either.
Robby is in a much better place mentally than he has ever been this season. He’s managed to overcome his trauma with his father, and even repaired bridges with Miguel, Johnny’s other son. He spends most of this season trying to convince the other Cobra Kai students to leave the villainous Terry Silver.
However, he doesn’t have a good track record this season when it comes to major fights, a record he shares with Eli. They’re interchangeable, but Robby remains the only person to hold his own against Miguel in a one-on-one fight, so this gives him the edge in proven combat prowess. Still, he loses to Miguel and Kenny cleanly this season, so Robby needs to do a bit more training to get himself back on track.
Kenny is quickly shaping up to be one of the strongest students in the series. In only a few months, he’s learned to be on par with the All-Valley finalists. While it’s true that Miguel, Robby, and Eli underestimate him, that is no mark against him as a fighter. He still beat two of them in a fight, which is an impressive feat. Robby flipping from villain to hero gave Kenny a strong hatred to pull strength from.
Once again, despite the dirty ref, Kenny dominated his match against Eli. His quick mastery of the Silver Bullet and natural physicality allowed Kenny to beat some truly impressive opponents. The only hurdle he hasn’t quite jumped over is Miguel, who doesn’t seem to have much trouble against him during their short brawl in the season finale.
After finally fixing his issues with his father figures, Miguel is finally back on top. In the long-awaited rematch between him and Robby, Miguel wins clean, putting Robby in the same position that Robby did in that fateful school brawl. Only, he showed mercy, which shows how he’s matured.
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Miguel is still universally seen as the single best student to have been produced by any of the dojos. With knowledge from all three major dojos, his natural talent, and most importantly, clarity of mind, Miguel stands tall as the best fighter among the students. He is the only fighter to give the overzealous Kenny pause when they face off.
6 Mike Barnes
Mike Barnes returns with a vengeance in Cobra Kai Season 5, but not against Daniel, surprisingly. As it turns out, Mike Barnes, much like Chozen, turned his life around after his loss against Daniel. He would meet a man who became his father-in-law, who gave him direction in life, and he was genuinely happy.
That is until he gets dragged into the war against Terry Silver against his will. With his future burnt to the ground, he directs that rage at his former boss. Mike Barnes has an impressive showing this season despite how brief his fights are. While the final fight has him unceremoniously knocked out, he’s one of the few fighters to actually hold his own against Chozen. It seems Mike Barnes has been keeping up the karate training, despite putting it in the past.
5 Kim Da-Eun
Kim Da-Eun continues her grandfather’s martial arts legacy in her own brutal way. Much like Chozen, she practiced martial arts for decades. In terms of pure training, she has most of the cast beat. However, she doesn’t get to show off that skill nearly as much as she could have.
Viewers do get some idea of how incredibly skilled she is in the season finale. She ends up fighting the three best female fighters of the series and easily dominates them. Devon, Tory, and Sam are simply playing for time against the seasoned sensei.
Daniel is at his absolute lowest point in this season. Terry Silver beats him both physically and mentally. Silver gaslights Daniel to such a point that it drives a wedge between him and Amanda. Much like Silver did with Johnny, he traps him when he’s at his lowest and dominates him with his vicious kicks.
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And yet, he manages to be the only person to get a win against Terry Silver in the series thus far. While Chozen definitely softened him up, Daniel calls upon Silver’s teachings to finally beat him. He took away his leg, his breath, and his sight. Daniel has finally accepted the teachings of all his senseis, and he’s a better fighter because of it.
Johnny once again showcases his fantastic matchup against several opponents at once. He handily wins all of his encounters this season in spectacular fashion. Although he believably gets beat by a fit MMA fighter, he has no qualms playing dirty when the cards are down. For a guy with not much experience against grapplers, he did surprisingly well.
His most impressive feat this season, however, was the mansion fight at the end. He goes up against several Cobra Kai senseis and manages to beat them all into submission. Sure, he takes a hell of a beating, but he still won the fight while incredibly drunk. Winning against sober martial arts masters showcases how absurdly gutsy Johnny is.
2 Terry Silver
Terry Silver continues his winning streak for an impressively long time, and he has Daniel on the ropes for most of the season. His M.O., beating down the target first with mental attacks before dominating them with his martial arts, continues to serve him well. Daniel’s black eye can attest to that. Most impressively, he managed to beat Chozen.
Granted, Chozen was incredibly drunk and tilted by emotions, but it’s still Chozen. Fights are more than just the fists involved. The fight starts the moment enemies lock eyes. The mental games, the conditioning, all of these are part of combat. Chozen was drunk and let himself be distracted, and that allowed Terry to be the only person to beat him, in the series (besides the young Daniel) thus far.
Chozen continues his dominance over the rest of the cast this season. He even starts the season by defeating several martial arts masters with amusing ease. Even more than Daniel, Terry sees Chozen as the real threat between the two. Chozen is described by the students as “the combination of Johnny and Daniel” in both teaching and fighting styles.
While he lost his fight against Terry Silver, there were several mitigating factors in play. For one, he was nearly blackout drunk, and two, he was emotionally vulnerable after calling Kumiko. Combined with his concern over Johnny’s well-being, Chozen was just distracted enough to be taken down by Silver. Despite all those factors, Chozen still dominated most of the fight and very nearly defeated a healthy Terry Silver, something that an equally drunk Johnny and significantly more sober Daniel couldn’t accomplish in their matches.