Starting off...

Two of the fighting genre's first heroes, these two champion warriors are legendary. 

Liu Kang, the Immortal Champion of Mortal Kombat.
Liu Kang Ryu Fake Thumbnail

Ryu, the wandering warrior of Street Fighter.

I'm no Wiz or Boomstick, so I'll just look up a few things and try to see if I can come any closer to figuring out who would win... a possible Death Battle.

Liu Kang Ryu
Liu Kang

Note: This Liu Kang is a composite of both the classic and new timeline. Also, while I will include a special move and fatality from MK vs. DCU, his victories over the Flash and Green Lantern, as well as his defeat by Batman, will not count.


Orphaned at a young age, Liu Kang was taken in and raised by the Order of Light's Shaolin Monks, deep within the mountains of China. Lord Raiden came to the Shaolin Temple and upon seeing Liu Kang's talent for martial arts, he was convinced that he was Earthrealm's last hope.

So he took the young warrior monk and had him trained by the legendary Outworld martial arts master, Bo' Rai Cho. After several years of training, he was enrolled in the secret White Lotus Society, which Raiden had created to protect Earthrealm. With Shao Kahn just one victory away from conquering Outworld, Liu Kang was chosen by his Shaolin Grandmaster to defeat Shang Tsung. While he was successful, he soon found that his battle was far from over...

The young Shaolin Monk returned home to find his fellow Shaolin Monks killed by Tarkatan hordes. Seeking to avenge their deaths, he made his way to Outworld, backed by a few allies, where a new tournament would take place. He was victorious, even managing to defeat Shao Kahn, who retreated and prepared for an invasion of Earthrealm. Despite the overwhelming odds, Liu Kang managed to fend off Shao Kahn's extermination squads and once again defeated the ruler of Outworld, ending the invasion.

Liu Kang would continue defending Earthrealm, even defeating the fallen Elder God Shinnok, before his death at the hands of the Deadly Alliance: Shang Tsung and Quan Chi. While his spirit would escape Shang Tsung, Liu Kang's role as Earthrealm's defender was over.

  • Height: 1.78 m | 5'10"
  • Weight: 80 kg | 185 lbs
  • Trained by Bo' Rai Cho
  • Member of the White Lotus Society

Fighting Style

While having trained as a Shaolin Monk throughout his life, Liu Kang has a staggering number of martial arts at his disposal:

Jun Fan

  • Best defense is a strong offense
  • Based on Jeet Kun Do

Pao Chui Karate

Jeet Kun Do

  • Kicking, Punching, Trapping, and Grappling
  • All done seamlessly without fixed patterns

Choy Lay Fut

  • Defensive style
  • Effective against fighting more than one person



  • Shaolin Boxing style

Special Moves

The Immortal Champion of Mortal Kombat has six moves that make Earthrealm's enemies cringe in fear.

Flying Dragon Kick

  • Flies toward the opponent with a kick
  • Enhanced version is faster with a fiery kick
  • Learned the move from Bo' Rai Cho
  • Used to defeat Shang Tsung

Dragon Fire

  • Fireball in the shape of a dragon
  • Enhanced version turns into a black dragon

Low Dragon Fire

  • Same as Dragon Fire, but fired at the opponent's feet

Bicycle Kick

  • Flies towards opponent with multiple kicks
  • Enhanced version is faster with fiery kicks
  • Sounds hilarious while using it

Dragon's Tail

  • A cartwheel kick that can be followed up with a punch, trip, flip kick, or uppercut.


  • If opponent attacks during parry stance, teleports behind them and punches
  • Enhanced version does an uppercut
  • Can even parry throws and air attacks
  • Cannot parry low attacks or any special moves

Chin Up

  • Cartwheel kick and uppercut, followed by a kick to the aerial opponent's jaw
  • A dentist's worst nightmare

With the exception of Dragon's Tail, which has no enhanced version, each enhanced version uses one of three parts of the Super meter. Chin Up requires all three parts, since it is so damaging.


Besides his punches, kicks, and special attacks, Liu Kang has other melee methods with his two weapons: Dragon Sword

  • Wave-shaped blade
  • Can also be thrown.


  • Two sticks with chains connecting them
  • Orignally farming tools


After beating his opponent into a daze, Liu Kang has a large variety of ways to FINISH HIM!... or her.

Dragon Bite

  • Transforms into a dragon and bites his opponent
  • Dragon form can also breathe fire

Arcade Drop

  • Drops a Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet onto his opponent
  • Can disappear or stay before summoning it


  • Teleports inside the opponent as living fire, then the opponent burns alive.

Fire Shot

  • Tosses the opponent into the air, then blows them up with a fireball.

Soul Invasion

  • Enters the opponent's body, then forces them to tear off their own head
  • Shang Tsung totally ripped this off from Liu Kang!

Focused Fireball

  • Extracts opponent's chi, then blows them up with it.

Fire Combo

  • Uppercut, bicycle kick, then finishes grounded opponent with a fiery fist

Fist of Flame

  • Charges fist with fire, then punches through opponent's chest
  • Used to defeat Shao Kahn


  • Defeated Ermac, Scorpion, Goro, Shang Tsung, Kintaro, Shao Kahn, and Shinnok
  • Has saved Earthrealm multiple times
  • His spirit survived the Battle of Armageddon
  • Managed to catch and throw the Wrath Hammer
  • Can turn into a dragon and summon Mortal Kombat machines... SAY WHAT?!


  • Killed by the Deadly Alliance of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi
  • Was unable to reunite with his reanimated body
  • Has been defeated by Raiden
  • Weapons are not always useful
  • Parry can be punished by low attacks and specials

While neither timeline ended well for him, there's no doubt that Liu Kang is the Champion of Mortal Kombat for good reason.


Note: This version of Ryu is based on him in his prime during the Street Fighter III series. Thus, his abilities in the Marvel vs. series, as well as fighting Asura in Asura Wrath's DLC, will not count.


Orphaned at a young age and left with no memory of his parents, Ryu was found and raised by the martial artist Gouken. Throughout most of his life, he lived at his dojo, training with Gouken, alongside his sparring partner Ken Masters. At age 23, he left the dojo and entered the World Warrior Tournament, where we defeated all the opponents before him until he reached the host Sagat. Despite giving it all that he had, he would have been defeated by the Muay Thai fighter...

Until he was so determined to win that he gave into the Satsui no Hado, the Killing Intent. Ryu unleashed an uppercut with so much power that it not only knocked out Sagat, but also scarred his chest. Ryu was victorious, but has since then done all that he can to never give in to the Killing Intent again. Upon returning to Gouken's dojo, he found his master murdered. Hearing that Akuma had been responsible, Ryu went searching for him and fought him on the island Gokuentou. But Akuma had only been testing Ryu, and soon left him stranded after punching the island in half.

From there on, Ryu has battled many opponents, from M. Bison and Seth to Hugo and Alex. He continually wanders across the globe, always seeking to improve himself and wanting to meet and fight new people.

  • Height: 175 cm | 5'9"
  • Weight: 68 kg | 150 lbs
  • Trained by Gouken

Fighting Style

Ryu's fighting style mostly centers around the Ansatsuken, the Assassination Fist, a martial art designed for killing people, which Akuma would embrace. Gouken did not and made his own variant on the art, which would embrace its peaceful and spiritual aspects, removing the Satsui no Hado.

This variation of the style does use some aspects of Shotokan Karate, in particular its philosophies.

Special Moves

Being the first fireball-throwing martial artist of the fighting genre, all of Ryu's legendary moves hit hard.


  • Fireball that travels across the screen
  • EX version turns red and does more damage
  • Once halted a waterfall
  • "Surge Fist"

Tatsumaki Senpukyaku

  • Spinning kick that sends Ryu forward
  • EX version is stationary
  • "Tornado Whirlwind Leg"


  • Jumping uppercut
  • EX version does more damage
  • "Rising Dragon Fist"

These three moves would be Ryu's only special moves for quite some time until he acquired a fourth move:

Joudan Sokuto Geri

  • Forward-stepping kick that sends the opponent flying
  • EX version causes a wall-bounce
  • "High-Level Leg Blade Kick"

All of the EX versions of moves use up a portion of the Super Combo Gauge, which, when filled, can allow Ryu to utilize the Super Arts.

Super Arts

When Ryu sees an opening, he can go for a KO using these four Super Arts:

Shinku Hadoken

  • Stronger fireball with more power
  • "Vacuum Surge Fist"

Denjin Hadoken

  • Fireball filled with electricity
  • Can be charged for increased damage, stun, and number of hits
  • "Electric Blade Surge Fist"

Shinku Tatsumaki Senpukyaku

  • Super form of Tatsumaki Senpukyaku
  • Ryu stays stationary during entire duration
  • Can pull opponents towards it
  • "Vacuum Tornado Whirlwind Kick"

Shin Shoryuken

  • Strikes the midsection, then uppercuts the opponent's jaw
  • If blocked, becomes a multi-hitting Shoryuken
  • Used to defeat and scar Sagat
  • Hugo the only person that could withstand it
  • "True Rising Dragon Fist"

And for those of you wondering why his Evil Ryu form hasn't been mentioned yet, it is because thanks to Gouken sealing away the Satsui no Hado within Ryu, by the time of the Street Fighter III series, Ryu has finally conquered the Satsui no Hado and is no longer in any danger of giving in to it. In fact, Street Fighter III's Ryu has been said to have Evil Ryu's strength, but without any of the Killing Intent.


  • Defeated Sagat, M. Bison, Seth, Dudley, Hugo, and Alex
  • Held his own against Akuma and Oro
  • Lifted a boulder with Oro sitting on top of it
  • Survived a punch through his chest from Akuma


  • Defeated by M. Bison in their first encounter
  • Has never defeated Akuma, Oro, or Gill
  • Fairly simplistic fighting style
  • Super Arts leave him vulnerable if evaded

While Ryu is certainly not a flawless fighter, considering some of his losses, Ryu is still one of the greatest martial artists of all time.


Despite their differences in accomplishments, I think this could be a very close Death Battle:

Liu Kang Advantages

  • More variety in martial arts
  • Has accomplished much more than Ryu
  • Dragon transformation could be too much for Ryu
  • Has held his own against god-like beings, like Shao Kahn, who defeated M. Bison
  • Better win-loss record

Ryu Advantages

  • Slightly better all-around special attacks
  • All special attacks will go straight through Liu Kang's parry
  • Defeated Dudley, who had a parry like Liu Kang's
  • Has a slim chance of surviving the Fist of Fire
  • Has held his own against Akuma, who defeated M. Bison, Gill, and Shang Tsung

Still left with one question about the battle:

Does Liu Kang's dragon form have any limitations?

Liu Kang's dragon form is as deadly as it is iconic... but does it have any limitations whatsoever? I suppose Liu Kang doesn't use it until the end to give his opponent a fair fight, but tt's been shown to kill in one bite and Shaolin Monks did have him spewing fire to kill multiple grunts at once, so why doesn't he just use it to eviscerate everyone in the tournament? And does it even have any weaknesses? Can anyone like Shao Kahn take him out while he's in this form? I would say the answer is no, since he did beat Shao Kahn using this form, but that was from the movies... the second movie.

And with that...

On one hand, even as a Street Fighter fan, I do have to say that Liu Kang has the better chance of winning... better, not definite. The Shaolin Monk has the better chance because he has accomplished many amazing feats, more so than Ryu. Not just defeating Shang Tsung or Shao Kahn, but also defending his very realm... multiple times. Ryu has certainly never had to protect his world from destruction (Marvel 3 doesn't count), nor has he ever defeated a god-like being (having never fought or defeated Gill in canon). Ryu may have defeated Alex, who defeated Gill, but that doesn't mean he could automatically do the same because of it. Not to mention that Liu Kang's martial arts are more diverse than Ryu's, whose is more simple, but effective. And while Liu Kang died in his original timeline, it was solely due to Quan Chi assisting Shang Tsung, otherwise Liu Kang hasn't had any losses apart from losing to Raiden in the new timeline. Ryu hasn't been as perfect, nearly losing to Sagat and losing to M. Bison in his first encounter with both.

On the other hand, Ryu is definitely not going down easily. I think his special attacks are slightly better than Liu Kang's, only because he has something to counter just about all of Liu Kang's special attacks. For one, Liu Kang has no real effective counter against the shoryuken... not even the parry, which allows melee-range special attacks to go right through it.

And just how lethal would Ryu be? Now despite Ansatsuken's lethality being toned down, I don't think that works against Ryu in this fight. Besides Death Battle taking away personality constraints towards killing, I think that Ryu aims for a KO and that's why he doesn't kill; in Death Battle, it's kill or be killed, and rest-assured, if Ryu was in a life or death situation, he'd do what he has to do. So with that, I think Ryu's Supers could be lethal, I'd even argue towards some of the kombatants, and while Liu Kang has stood up to gods, he's still flesh and blood, and as far as I'm concerned, he's still just as vulnerable. Not to mention if Ryu could survive essentially a gaping stab to his chest, he may just have at least a small chance of taking Liu Kang's Fist of Fire and continuing the fight... if not exactly at peak condition afterward.

Who Would I Pick?

As a Street Fighter fan, but with no dislike towards Liu Kang or Mortal Kombat, I would be rooting for Ryu. On one hand, Liu Kang has defeated gods and can turn into a dragon, both feats which may alone defeat Ryu. On the other, just looking at it from a gameplay perspective, SFIII parry or no parry, Ryu has the tools to counter just about all of Liu Kang's moves. Don't know what will be more valuable to the research team: canon strength or gameplay strength. I do think regardless of the outcome that this will be a very close Death Battle, maybe one of the closest, who knows. Even if Ryu does end up getting eaten, I will be happy with the fact that he gave Liu Kang a run for his money... and if the fight itself is awesome.

Anyway, thanks for reading this. Think this would make a great Death Battle? Think you know the outcome? Got anything I may have missed? Leave a comment below.

Would you like to see Liu Kang vs. Ryu be an actual episode?

The poll was created at 07:05 on June 2, 2014, and so far 68 people voted.

Next time...

???: I don't want to fight... but I have no choice!

???: Don't get in my way.

Click here to read about this possible Death Battle.

Click below to read one of my previous possible Death Battle's:

Vergil Sesshomaru Fake ThumbnailElectro Cole Fake Thumbnail

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