Johnny Lawrence and Daniel Larusso have been rivals since their teenage years in The Karate Kid, and their fights have also spread into Cobra Kai. Going into the Netflix series’ final season, the duo has sorted out their differences and found themselves as close as friends as they ever could be. Still, Johnny and Daniel have too much history between them to be entirely done with their fight.
This all started back in The Karate Kid during the beach scene when Daniel punched Johnny in the face after a disagreement involving his new love interest (and Johnny’s previous one), Ali Mills. From that moment on, the two would be stuck in a rivalry that would last decades. They would battle both on the mat and off—tournament rules or free-for-all—a total of five times going into Cobra Kai‘s wrap-up season. Overall, they have established that they are evenly matched since each holds one win over the other—but all that could change in season 6.
5 The Halloween Fight – The Karate Kid
The first real fight between Johnny and Daniel after the latter’s sucker punch at the beach was during the Halloween dance in The Karate Kid. Though Johnny was an undeniable bully, this altercation was started by Daniel. After pranking Johnny by pouring water over him in the bathroom, Daniel ran off, hoping to escape. Of course, this didn’t work out, and Johnny gave him a beating that could very well have killed him.
As far as Johnny and Daniel go, this is technically a win for Cobra Kai’s golden child. However, this was hardly fair since Daniel had not yet been trained in Karate. The real winner of the battle was the legendary Mr. Miyagi, who showed up in the knick of time to have his iconic The Karate Kid fight with the group of Cobra Kai students. Still, this is technically Johnny’s only victory over his bothersome rival.
4 The All-Valley Tournament Fight – The Karate Kid
Per the arrangement between Mr. Miyagi and John Kreese, the next time that Johnny and Daniel would face off was at the All-Valley Tournament after The Karate Kid. The match would go down in karate history since it was the big moment when the underdog Daniel, who had been bloodied up near the point of quitting, pulled out his signature Crane Kick move and became the All-Valley champion.
Johnny Lawrence would remember this match as the day things went downhill for his life. After Daniel’s kick (which Johnny vehemently claims later was illegal), the defeated Cobra Kai champion good-naturedly handed over the trophy himself and told his rival that he was “alright” after all. However, The Karate Kid Part II revealed that even though Johnny had accepted his loss, John Kreese did not. After his sensei became violent, Johnny left Cobra Kai—and things were never the same for him again.
3 The Fight In Johnny’s Apartment – Cobra Kai Season 2
After being reunited in Cobra Kai season 1, the tension only grew between Johnny and Daniel. It was expected that the new central character of the Karate Kid sequel series would be the one to lose his cool and attack his old nemesis. However, in Cobra Kai season 2, it was Daniel-san himself who threw the first punch. He had become increasingly frustrated with his daughter’s secretiveness and behavior, so when he found her at Johnny’s apartment with Robby, things fell apart quickly.
The fight was a massive moment for the series up to that point since it was the first official rematch since the iconic All-Valley fight in The Karate Kid. Ultimately, Cobra Kai left audiences wanting more since there was no winner. The pair were pulled apart after only a few moments by their kids, but even if they hadn’t been stopped, it didn’t seem as if either could have won. They were more or less evenly matched, with both landing a few good hits on the other.
2 The Garage Fight – Cobra Kai Season 3
Johnny and Daniel’s next fight in Cobra Kai happened unexpectedly after the pair had been working together to find Robby in season 3. Their search took them to a garage full of thugs, but after the rivals-turned-reluctant-partners took out all their enemies, Daniel was forced to stop Johnny from nearly killing one of them. The rage and built-up tension between them resulted in a brief battle—but not much came of it.
This moment in Cobra Kai season 3 was a real low point for Johnny, so it can’t be said that he was at his best during the fight (though it had been enough to take out the thugs). Likewise, Daniel wasn’t particularly dedicated to fighting his old rival—he just wanted to stop him. Still, it was another relatively evenly matched battle. Neither came out on top, and they stopped the fight on their own before deciding to go their separate ways, highlighting once again that their is often little to separate the saga’s two biggest personalities.
1 The Long Awaited Rematch At Miyagi-Do – Cobra Kai Season 4
Cobra Kai season 4 saw the match between Johnny and Daniel everyone had been waiting for. They had decided to join their two dojos into one to take down John Kreese, but their different teaching styles weren’t blending well. So, they decided to definitively put their rivalry to an end and determine who would lead the students to the All-Valley Tournament. They put on their gi, bowed, and had their first tournament-style rematch since The Karate Kid.
Once again, this fight didn’t come to much. Johnny and Daniel finally had the moment in Cobra Kai to go all out, but they again found themselves equally matched when they did. They managed to get a couple of points on each other using some of their best moves, but when it came to the tie-breaking point—they KOed each other at precisely the same time. With everything going on with Kreese, there was never any time for a rematch, meaning that this match – perhaps more than any other – perfectly demonstrates the pair’s equal skill level. So, across all their battles throughout The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai, Johnny and Daniel each have a single win and several washes—but Cobra Kai season 6 may change all that.
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