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Who Cobra Kai Fans Think Would Win Between Young Daniel LaRusso And Robby Keene

Netflix's Cobra Kai manages to do the impossible, by updating The Karate Kid to modern age, and somehow infusing the beloved franchise with more heart than anyone could have expected. Fans have been delighted to revisit the surprisingly nuanced lives of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), and with two seasons of the beloved show in the bag — and a third one on the way — their reawakened rivalry is set to entertain the viewers for quite some time.  

Of course, one can't forget that Cobra Kai has also introduced us to a whole new generation of karate enthusiasts, such as Johnny and Daniel's respective star pupils, Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) and Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan). While their karate antics are just as enjoyable, some fans have wondered how their skills compare with those of their senseis. For instance, how would a young Daniel fare against Robby in a match? 

While the show (probably) isn't about to introduce a time machine in order to find out how this fight would go, this hasn't stopped the fan community from trying to figure out the answer. Here's who Cobra Kai fans think would win between young Daniel LaRusso and Robby Keene.

Daniel LaRusso is a plucky kid who can punch way above his weight class

Young Daniel LaRusso is a slight young man, and as Cobra Kai demonstrates, he retains his build well into his middle age. However, he has a natural determination that allows him to always get back up and try again, regardless of how badly he's beaten. Combined with his unique and highly effective training under Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita), this allows him to beat significantly larger and stronger opponents who have vastly more combat experience. From Johnny Lawrence to Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto) and Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), many adept fighters find this out the hard way.

As such, some fans think that the franchise's main protagonist is at a distinct advantage in a fight against Robby. In a Reddit discussion about the fantasy battle between the two, user thegreaterfool714 opines that Danny would take the match. "I'd say Robbie is the more talented and physically stronger fighter. Daniel, on the other hand, is probably the smarter fighter. In a tournament setting, I'd say Danny wins." Thanks to Daniel's street fight victory over Chozen in The Karate Kid 2, and Robby's loss to Miguel in the season 2 finale of Cobra Kai, they also feel that Daniel could beat Robby in a real fight, though not without a price. "With real world, I'd say it's very closely contested fight. Daniel would 'win' in a sense, but he'd be pretty f****d up at the end of it," they write.

Other redditors concur. "Robbie has the advantage of starting out more athletic, but Daniel fought people who been doing karate for years, not a few months like Miguel and Hawk," user Rockerage explains. 

"Daniel, because Daniel has to win. No other option," Chris12131405 agrees. 

Robby is an athletic prodigy with talent and issues in spades

In a purely athletic sense, Robby Keene is arguably more talented than his father, Johnny, and his master, Daniel. By the time he picks up karate, he already has a decent athletic background, and his skateboard skills provide the kind of dexterity and balance that matches pretty much anyone in the series. Tellingly, Robby has very little trouble mastering the complex double-footed kick that Daniel never got quite right. He has his share of issues and a temper that can flare on occasion, but thanks to his sheer athleticism, some fans feel that the fight would go in his favor. 

"I think Robby has more natural fighting ability. So I think it would be close. My Bet is on Robby," Redditor Heylookitshannah writes. User Tobes_macrobes thinks in a similar way, while also pointing out that the cast of Cobra Kai in general seems more well-versed in martial arts than the guys in The Karate Kid. "Everyone in Cobra Kai can do way more crazy stuff than Daniel and Johnny could in KK1, so I would have to say Robbie," they feel. "Robbie is also a natural athlete, while Daniel is not."

Some fans point out that Robby's success also depends on which young Daniel he's fighting. After all, the relatively untrained kid from The Karate Kid is a far cry from the death match-winning Daniel at the end of Karate Kid 2 and his secret Okinawan "drum technique."

Some fans think Mr. Miyagi is the key to Daniel's victory

While the majority of fans seem to think that a fight between these two martial artists would go to Daniel, some people point out that this is because the original Karate Kid has an advantage Robby can only dream of: Mr. Miyagi. Cobra Kai doesn't exactly hide the fact that Daniel isn't the kind of borderline mystically talented sensei Miyagi is. While he's highly efficient in his own way, he often struggles with his teaching methods and temperament. As such, fans feel that Miyagi's training and tactically dispensed wisdom would inevitably tip the scales in Daniel's favor.   

Per redditor Thewalkingwhit, "[...] at the end of the day, I have to go with LaRusso. Because it's Daniel f*****g LaRusso. With the mythical Miyagi by his side. They were the complete package with heart and wisdom." 

User Bjj33 also thinks the fact that Daniel had the opportunity to learn directly from Miyagi gives him the edge. "Miyagi was a much better and more experienced teacher than Daniel is," they write. "Daniel wins."