Despite his rookie debut in A play, Luffy has since transformed into an unstoppable hero. After mastering all the gears, awakening his Devil Fruit, and even taking full control of Conqueror’s Haki, there are few characters in the series who are still on his level.
However, the last leg of Luffy’s journey to find Roger’s treasure won’t be easy. There are still a number of powerful players who could very easily challenge him, if they were interested in doing so. By identifying characters at Luffy’s level, it becomes easier to gauge the remaining adversity he faces.
ten Luffy only narrowly defeated Kaido
As the leader of the Beast Pirates, Kaido is a force of nature. He was able to level entire towns in a single attack and destroy scabbards as if they were insignificant starters.
Although Luffy managed to defeat Kaido, he would never have been so successful without being saved by his comrades throughout the fight. Luffy may be stronger now that he’s awakened Gear Five, but Kaido would still be a significant threat should he ever return to the series in a meaningful way.
9 Zoro has always been Luffy’s rival.
Roronoa Zoro may have always been known as the Straw Hats’ second strongest fighter, although he’s not far behind Luffy. So far, he’s proven himself capable of cleaving mountains, moving so fast he creates afterimages, and even surviving being attacked by two Emperors simultaneously.
Although lacking Luffy’s versatility, Zoro’s incredibly high physical traits would make him a serious threat should the two ever fight. His arming haki is more than capable of fracturing Luffy’s, especially considering the potential behind Oden’s legendary sword.
8 Kizaru and Luffy are due for a rematch
Although nowhere as harmful as Akainu, Kizaru was responsible for a major traumatic event in Luffy’s life. By attacking Sabaody, he forced Kuma to scatter the Straw Hats. As far as the Captain knew at the time, his friends were being killed in front of him.
Given that he balances exceptional speed with sheer destructive force, Kizaru could theoretically be a greater challenge to Luffy than even Akainu. Since he is much harder to provoke, Luffy and his comrades couldn’t hope to capitalize on his hatred of pirates, presumably being forced to hire him on his terms.
seven Big Mom’s Versatility Is Terrific
Despite being the most brash of the Four Emperors, Big Mom’s skills are fearsome and versatile. Her control over storm clouds and the sun ensures that she is never overwhelmed since her animated minions will always protect her.
Additionally, Big Mom’s body is notoriously impervious to damage. Although Luffy’s Advanced Armament Haki proved to be a great tally for her, she’s still much tougher than the rest. Given his long list of ranged abilities, Luffy would also have a much harder time getting close to striking distance than he would against Kaido, whose size makes it virtually guaranteed.
6 Rayleigh taught Luffy everything he knows
Rayleigh may not have the same presence he had in his prime, though he remains one of the most underrated powerhouses in the series. Roger’s first mate and an admiral-level threat, his vast mastery over Haki rivals Shanks himself.
What would make Rayleigh a particularly fitting challenge for Luffy is that he trained him for two years. If the two were fighting, it wouldn’t be as enemies. Instead, Rayleigh would likely test her student’s resolve to assess if he had what it takes to find the One Piece.
5 Law and Luffy’s alliance is officially over.
In Punk Hazard, Trafalgar Law and Luffy joined forces for a very specific reason; to bring down Kaido and his army of Devil Fruit users. Now that their goal has been achieved, all bets are off and Law has gone his own way. In theory, that means anything could happen between them now.
Law may not be able to scramble Luffy’s limbs or put him into another body, though his combination of swordsmanship and shock abilities could devastate his former ally. The biggest downside to the man in their fight is that he’s not as tough or physically strong.
4 Shanks may be the most powerful Haki user of all time
Shanks may have been the one to encourage Luffy’s life of piracy, though he openly expressed interest in finding the One Piece. As a result, the two could reasonably become rivals in the future.
Considering Shanks is a world-class haki weapon master, one of the few undefeated emperors, and a man capable of countering the future vision, his disorienting speed and intensity would be a worthy match for Luffy. The only way for the captain to win is if he doesn’t hold back from the start of the game.
3 Mihawk is probably as strong as an emperor
Considering Mihawk has been declared a better swordsman than Shanks, it stands to reason that he is at least equal to or above the power level of an Emperor. Although he participated in Marineford and faced the Whitebeard Pirates, there was never an opponent able to make him actually try to fight.
Mihawk’s skill with a single weapon makes him a pirate to be feared. Now that he has access to the Buggy’s Cross guild, he will prove a vicious competitor for the One Piece.
2 Akainu is now the Fleet Admiral of the Navy
Akainu has always been powerful. Able to take on Whitebeard in a duel and survive his direct punches, his basic physical attributes are extremely impressive. However, the Fleet Admiral’s raw destructive potential arguably overshadows even that. His molten fists devastated the Moby Dick and many other Whteibeard ships in seconds.
Given his volatile and destructive nature, Akainu is one of the few opponents capable of melting Luffy’s defenses and even killing him. Given his volcanic anatomy, Luffy also has to be extremely careful when fighting him.
1 Blackbeard is the greatest scourge of the seas
It’s no surprise that Blackbeard is Luffy’s biggest remaining threat. Having stolen Whitebeard’s devil fruit and being personally responsible for Ace’s death, he embodies a dark alternative to what it means to be a pirate.
What makes Blackbeard particularly deadly is that his crew are almost as deadly as he is. Each member has been handpicked, from the worst pirates on the high seas to the most notorious criminals of Impel Down. Now equipped with deadly Devil Fruits, Luffy’s crew are in almost as much danger as him.
NEXT: One Piece: 5 Naruto Characters Who Could Escape Impel Down (& 5 Who Couldn’t)