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The Walking Dead: 15 Most Capable Main Characters, Ranked According To Fighting Ability

The Walking Dead is a tale of what happens when ordinary people get swept up in the carnage and chaos of a zombie apocalypse. With survival being a number one priority, these humans need to be able to hold their own in order to stay alive. The threats don’t always come from the undead, but also the worst elements of humanity who are turned loose in a world with no laws.

RELATED: 10 Great Examples Of Foreshadowing That Paid Off In The Walking Dead

As the story progresses, passive characters learn to become warriors in their own right, while others find themselves fodder for the brutal new world. Almost all the characters had to undergo a personal transformation in order to become capable fighters, and the journey was usually a deeply traumatic one that changed them irrevocably.

Updated on November 30th, 2021 by Derek Draven: The Walking Dead’s characters are forced to fight in order to survive, but not all of them are equal when it comes to battling it out. Since the show debuted, more characters have been added into the mix who possess varying degrees of fighting prowess.

Seasons 10 and 11 introduced the Whisperers, a band of nihilistic survivors led by some of the deadliest fighters to walk the apocalypse, and the main characters have had to adapt. Whether it’s battling hordes of the undead, or the dangerous and unpredictable humans that stalk the wasteland, these characters know how to handle themselves.


15 Glenn Rhee

Glenn was a major fan favorite due to his character and views, and one of the moral linchpins of the series for a long time. He was the everyday guy who would rather be enjoying life, instead of fighting for it. However, as the series moved forward, Glenn became a capable fighter who never lost touch of the good man inside.

Before the apocalypse, Glenn was a pizza delivery boy just starting out on the steps of adulthood, and that meant little-to-no combat experience. However, with time, patience and training, he became a decent strategist and a formidable combatant, lacking only in physical strength.

14 Rosita Espinosa

Rosita in The Walking Dead Season 10

Although Rosita doesn’t always get a large percentage of screen time, it was always clear that she was a capable fighter. Starting out as part of Abraham’s group, both he and Rosita took it upon themselves to protect Eugene from threats both great and small.

Abraham trusted her to take care of herself and to help complete his mission of delivering Eugene to Washington, D.C. Later, when she became part of Rick’s group, she put her fighting skills on the front line against a variety of threats, including Negan’s Saviors.

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13 Carol

Carol walking through the woods in The Walking Dead

What Carol lacks in size and strength, she makes up for with conviction and dedication. Of the entire group, she’s perhaps the only one willing to go to any lengths to protect those she cares about. Unfortunately, that has forced her to pursue a lot of painful decisions which have taken a toll on her gentle mind.

As a result, Carol has lost much of her empathy or at least buried it deep down. This allows her to focus herself in combat, only feeling the effects after the bullets have stopped flying. She’s also good at misdirecting her opponents during a fight and capitalizing on her own stereotypes in order to fool them.

12 Aaron

Aaron kills a walker in The Walking Dead

Aaron started out as a gentle-natured guy, but over the years, he’s racked up a series of chips on his shoulder that have permanently changed his character. It all came to an apex when he lost his hand, which forced him to replace it with a mechanical tool that could be used in battle.

Since then, Aaron has become a very dangerous fighter. His jaded personality has granted him the ability to dispatch enemies without any remorse or pity, and that pays off in a life-or-death encounter. He’s a changed man since his debut on the show, but that has only made him more powerful.

11 Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead season 10

Daryl had a difficult life before the apocalypse, but he has always been a fighter, drawing heavily on his experience as a survivalist and a rebel in order to stay alive. Daryl’s character has evolved in major ways since the first season, but his fighting abilities have remained largely the same throughout.

Once he started becoming a team player inside Rick’s group, he had an actual reason to fight that did not just include himself. He’d also go on to train others in combat and hunting techniques, making him a valuable go-to when it comes to defense.

10 Tyreese

Tyreese near a window in The Walking Dead

Not many wanted to tangle with Tyreese when he was alive, and it’s easy to see why. Not only was he very large, but he was also a natural fighter who wasn’t afraid to jump into the fire. Still, he was a gentle person at heart, and he never lost sight of the value of holding human life as sacred.

RELATED: 10 Fear The Walking Dead Characters, Ranked By Bravery

When the time came to fight, however, Tyreese was a bull in the middle of a charge, and those who got in his way either lived to regret it or died too fast to notice. Had he been able to hang on for the long haul, he might have been able to turn the tide against future threats, such as the Saviors.

9 Negan Smith

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead

Negan wasn’t a particularly violent man before the apocalypse broke out, but the trauma of losing his beloved wife after the apocalypse was in full swing was too much. He quickly learned that the world was full of nefarious humans far more dangerous than the undead, and he quickly toughened himself up for what came next.

Intimidation tactics are Negan’s strongest card, but he’s no slouch in a fight, either. Against the undead, he’s a wrecking ball, but he’s also a capable combatant against the living. Even without his trusty baseball bat Lucille, Negan can best some powerful fighters in hand-to-hand combat, making him a constant threat.

8 Morgan Jones

The Walking Dead Season 8 Finale Morgan

Morgan Jones began the series as a typical father who was simply trying to protect his son. When that failed, he nearly lost his sanity, only climbing back from the precipice due to the kindness of a stranger. It was he who trained Morgan in the art of combat while bestowing upon him a zen-like attitude about the value of life.

Afterward, he vowed only to fight when absolutely necessary, and even then, he sometimes hesitated. When passiveness was not an option, Morgan would launch into the fray, and his opponents typically met their end in a quick and brutal fashion. Few could go up against Morgan and expect to best him in a fight.

7 Shane Walsh

Although Shane Walsh was only in The Walking Dead for a few seasons, he quickly established himself as a powerful fighter. He was Rick’s best friend, and fellow sheriff’s deputy before the apocalypse, and quickly understood that he needed to be ruthless to protect Lori and Carl from both walkers, and humans alike.

Not only was Shane highly proficient with guns, but he was also a capable hand-to-hand combatant. His unhinged personality and aggressive nature amplified his natural strength, and that made him more unpredictable as the story drove forward.

6 Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes shoots Sophia in The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes was a sheriff’s deputy who had enough training to survive the apocalypse more than most. However, he was held back by his good nature and adherence to ethics early on, which nearly cost him, and his group their lives. It would take a while before he learned how to strike a proper balance.

Though not as physically strong, or well-trained as some others in the Walking Dead universe, Rick was undoubtedly one of the most brutal. When push came to shove, there was no line he would not cross, and that made him extremely unpredictable in a fight. In one noteworthy episode, Rick brutally kills a human by biting his throat out during one of The Walking Dead’s most brutal battles.

5 The Governor

The Governor holding a pistol in The Walking Dead

The Governor’s fighting skills were amplified heavily by his own unhinged personality, and that made him an extremely dangerous foe. Not only was he a manipulator and a master strategist, but he also knew how to wage war on a large scale, if so required. He almost ended Rick Grimes and his group before he was slain by Michonne.

He was lethal in a hand-to-hand fight, tapping into his own unbridled aggression and rage. He nearly killed Michonne during an altercation, and he defeated Merle during a one-on-one brawl, which was no easy feat. However, the worst beating he ever delivered was to Rick, whose injuries took a long time to heal.

4 Michonne

Michonne stands protectively in front of Judith in The Walking Dead

Michonne is easily one of the best fighters in The Walking Dead, especially when she’s wielding her katana. Whether she’s facing walkers or people, Michonne is always a threat, and she knows how to leverage her speed to overcome her lack of physical strength. For Michonne, it’s all about improvising.

RELATED: 10 Walking Dead Details In Michonne’s Final Episode That You Missed

Although she’s best with her katana, Michonne is also a great hand-to-hand combatant. If overpowered by a stronger foe, she’ll usually figure out a way to gain the upper hand, even if it means utilizing some dirty tricks.

3 Abraham Ford

Michael Cudlitz as Abraham in The Walking Dead

Abraham always favored brute force over tactical fighting techniques, especially when compared to other characters, but it always seemed to work for him. He was an imposing fellow, whether he was facing humans or walkers, and his strong military mind and training helped him immensely during the apocalypse.

His hot temper had its pros and cons, fueling him to go all out in a fight. There were few who could step into the ring with Abraham and expect to walk out victorious, much less with their teeth intact. His only real disadvantage was his large size, which hampered his agility.

2 Jesus

The Walking Dead-Paul Rovia aka Jesus

Paul Rovia, otherwise known as Jesus, was arguably the most capable and skilled fighter The Walking Dead had seen. With a strong semblance of martial arts training, Jesus was incredibly agile, and that gave him a huge advantage against enemies who might have underestimated him due to his thin physicality.

Jesus was a supply runner, part of a militia, and a martial arts teacher. He used all of those skills to protect himself, and his community, while also giving him a leg up on the competition. He was able to outwit his enemies during a fight by confusing them, but unfortunately, he met his demise at the hands of a Whisperer during a surprise attack.

1 Beta

Beta of the Whisperers in The Walking Dead

He may have been second fiddle to Alpha in The Walking Dead, but Beta represented the brutal hulking force of a man who had nothing to lose, and no connections to hold him back. As the primary enforcer inside the Whisperers, Beta’s job was to carry out Alpha’s orders and ensure ultimate loyalty to the ideology they shared.

In combat, Beta was the human equivalent of a military tank. He could shred multiple opponents at a time with a unique combination of incredible strength and combat techniques. Hand-to-hand, Beta was extremely dangerous and could shrug off painful injuries long enough to either strangle or beat his opponents to death.

NEXT: 10 Best Characters Introduced After Fear The Walking Dead, Season 1

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