Both versions of Fullmetal Alchemist have brought us an Edward Elric who is incredibly driven. He has a mission, and he's not going to stop until he succeeds. Or he dies trying. So it's probably no surprise that he's managed to get himself into more than the occasional fight.
And that got us thinking. Who could Edward beat in a fight? And who would mop the floor with him? So after some careful thinking, we put together a list. Some of these characters are ones that he actually did face in a fight. While other fights are merely theoretical. Without further ado, we present to you, five characters Edward can defeat, and five he can't.
10 He Can Defeat: Slicer Brothers
Let's start off this list with a set of characters that Edward has defeated, canonically speaking. We're talking about the one and only Slicer Brothers. Ed (and Al) have gone up against the Slicer Brothers twice, though both fights are very different.
It doesn't matter what form the Slicer Brothers are in, flesh and blood or metal armor. Ed is up for the challenge, and he'll take them out. Though it helps that he has an intricate understanding of how their armor works.
9 He Can't Defeat: Roy Mustang
Roy Mustang, aka the Flame Alchemist, is one of the characters out there who can take down Ed in a fight. Now, this is partially due to his fighting experience, and his abilities to assess a battle and his opponents. But it's also more than that.
We've seen Ed and Mustang duke it out in the series, so his appearance on this list is probably not a surprise for most fans. After all, he did an excellent job of holding his own against the youngest State Alchemist.
8 He Can Defeat: Shou Tucker
Shou Tucker falls under the list of people Edward can take out. He's also one of those characters that fans will always cheer to see defeated. Tucker pushed Ed in unexpected ways, making him one of the few characters that Ed actually wanted to kill.
And that added motivation certainly doesn't hurt things. Tucker gets to sit on the rare list of people that Ed would gladly beat up at any given opportunity. And he absolutely deserves all of the punishment Ed is willing to put out.
7 He Can't Defeat: Armstrong
Armstrong, aka the Strong Arm Alchemist, is yet another State Alchemist that Edward would have a lot of trouble taking on. Not only is Armstrong exceptionally strong (as his alias would indicate), but he's just got such a dominating spirit.
The fact that he considers himself a guardian and caretaker for Ed would only make things more difficult. He'd be more inclined towards carrying Ed off than to try and battle him. And yet he'd still win that fight.
6 He Can Defeat: Lyra
Lyra is one of the more infamous examples of the extremes people will go to in order to become a State Alchemist. Despite the extra advantages on her side (her necklace, mainly) Ed had no trouble beating her in a fight. And that is not something that's likely to change. It doesn't matter what Lyra brings to the table, Ed is fully capable of taking her out. And he might not even break a sweat while doing so.
Lyra would make the fight interesting at least, thanks to her mini transmutation circle. It isn't every day that Ed gets to fight somebody like that. It'd give him the extra practice he could use, so that's something.
5 He Can't Defeat: Izumi Curtis
Izumi Curtis, Ed and Al's instructor in alchemy, is one of those people that Ed wouldn't have a chance against. And that might be partially because he is truly terrified of her and her opinion of him. But it's also because she trained him, and she knows the way he thinks, and how he learned his foundations.
Oh, and she's also a fantastic alchemist in her own right, and a tough fighter to boot. So yeah, the odds would not be in Ed's favor, should be ever be forced to try and take on Izumi Curtis in a true fight.
4 He Can Defeat: Cornello
Cornello is another one of those characters from Fullmetal Alchemist that fans love to see taken down a notch or two. So we're very happy to report that he is another character that Ed can easily defeat. After all, he did it once. And he could do it again.
Yes, Cornello did push Ed a surprising amount in their fight. But Ed was also not prepared or expecting the amount of fight that Cornello would put up. We're certain that if they came to blows again, Ed wouldn't give Cornello half the chance to pull those tricks again.
3 He Can't Defeat: Alphonse Elric
Thanks to the armor that carries Al's soul, he's extremely strong. Strong enough that we know that during their sparring matches, Ed doesn't have much of a chance in ever defeating his brother. And that's before taking into account all of the emotional issues, such as the fact that they're brothers, or how guilty Ed feels about the whole situation.
There's little doubt in our minds that Ed would never be able to take down Al in a fight – not emotionally, and certainly not physically. It's simply a fact.
2 He Can Defeat: Sloth
During their quests, Ed and Al have come up against many of the homunculi of the series. This has resulted in some truly amazing fights. And for the most part, Ed has proven that he's capable of holding his own against them.
While he Ed was not the one who had the honor of killing Sloth, there's little doubt in our minds that he could have done it, had he been in the position to land the killing blows. He has the knowledge and experience, and determination. So it would not have gone well for Sloth, who was perhaps a little too confident in their position.
1 He Can't Defeat: Greed (At Full Strength)
Conversely, we're not so sure we feel the same way about Greed. Yes, Ed did end up killing Greed, and by doing so he learned how to take out all of the homunculi. But the Greed he faced was one who was weakened before he ever arrived – and even then he nearly cost Ed everything.
Had Ed faced a Greed at full strength, we truly believe that the fight would have gone differently. It probably wouldn't have resulted in Ed's death, but it wouldn't have been pretty. And it's unlikely that Ed would have learned what he needed in order to take out the rest of the homunculi when the time was right.