[Top 10] Best Street Fighter Characters (Ranked)

The Best Street Fighter Characters in History
Ryu's hot new look in Street Fighter 6.

Capcom’s Street Fighter series has existed for over 36 years now. It has more than established itself as one of the most popular and important fighting game franchises in gaming history. The brand was the key inspiration for several other developers and publishers who wanted to assemble their own fighting games throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. Many imitators and inspirations were successful, but none on par with the brand that started the craze.

Enough time has passed for the franchise to churn out a high number of sequels and updated versions of titles, all introducing more cast members to the roster along the way. Some characters have remained with the series throughout its long and storied time in the limelight. Others have faded onto the sidelines.

But who are the best of the best in the Street Fighter series? The most memorable characters that most fans think about when someone namedrops the series? It’s not an easy question to answer, from a series with so many colorful faces over the years. No one should let difficulty stop them. That didn’t stop the creation of a list featuring  the ten best Street Fighter characters.


10. Alex

A Short History of Alex

Alex was among the many characters who entered the Street Fighter scene with the Street Fighter III titles, as the newest protagonist. He joined the tournament after his friend, Tom (who bears a striking resemblance to The Professional-era Jean Reno), was injured at the hands of boss character Gill. Aside from that, he’s also searching the world for strong opponents to fight.

Alex stands out because he was the first character featured in a Street Fighter game who split the difference between grappling and mobility. His move set features an equal number of rush-down techniques and wrestling-inspired grapple moves. Even if he was never a high-tier character in terms of in-game potential, he’s been a popular face in the series since his introduction thanks to his coolness factor.

Alex preparing for a massive Super attack.

  • Those wrestling moves: Alex’s suplexes and Power Bombs looked sublime in Street Fighter III’s animation system, though Street Fighter V’s were no slouch either.
  • An honorable guy: Alex’s reason for entering the Street Fighter tournament, to avenge his friend’s defeat, is an honorable one. He also respects series protagonist Ryu, who’s among the strongest fighters he runs into.
  • He’s a normal guy: He has one of the most down-to-earth move sets out of the Street Fighter series’ most popular characters.
  • Big protagonist energy: Capcom knew they had to make SFIII’s protagonist approachable, which is why he remains easier to play than many other straight-up grapplers in the series.
  • Jazzy NYC: The great Jazzy NYC character theme was attached to Alex and Ken in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, and a variation of it was attached to Sean in Street Fighter III: New Generation. But it’s since become HIS theme. He brought the theme to his Street Fighter V and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom appearances.


9. Cammy

A cool history of Cammy.

Cammy White became an instant hit after her debut in Super Street Fighter II. Her backstory was among the more tragic ones in the series. She worked as an MI6 agent as part of the Delta Red task force at this point, and still does; but it was in her introduction that she rediscovered her past as a brainwashed assassin for M. Bison at villainous organization Shadaloo.

As a character with assassination techniques, Cammy has remained one of the fastest-moving Street Fighter characters in battle. She can be difficult to master due to the player’s need to rely on quick reflexes, but the results are worth it. The combination of her move set and design are why she’s remained popular.

Cammy preparing for a vicious attack in Street Fighter 6.

  • She doesn’t let the past define her: Cammy comes to grips with her past as an assassin, but doesn’t let that bring her down for long.
  • Strength in battle: The combo of Cammy’s strength and speed has often placed her high in tier lists, by being one of the franchise’s fastest characters with strength behind her moves.
  • Her well-animated moves: Cammy’s techniques in each Street Fighter game come with top-tier animations. She’s a clear favorite of Capcom’s development teams.
  • The best team player: Her Street Fighter 6 story reveals how she’s kept in touch with the other Shadaloo Dolls, all fellow brainwashed assassins. She thinks of them as family.
  • She loves cats: Cammy is one of the biggest cat lovers in the series, a chief part of her appeal.


8. Ibuki

Ibuki's greatest, hottest, and most explosive combos in Street Fighter V.

Ibuki’s ninja identity is no secret based on her outfit, despite her being the extremely-visible and unsubtle kind. She’s clearly good at her job if her clan trusted her with investigating Gill’s activities in Street Fighter III. That’s canonically after Street Fighter V, a time during which she snuck out of her training to enter the fighting tournament to find an attractive guy to date.

Ibuki is far from a powerhouse on her strength alone. But she more than makes up for that with incredible agility and high combo potential. As a ninja, she also has plenty of tricks to confuse opponents and leave them guessing when they try to directly approach her.

Ibuki's win stance in Super Street Fighter IV.

  • Sheer agility: Ibuki is one of the fastest characters in the series, with unmatched capabilities to confuse her opponents.
  • Sheer trickiness: Ibuki’s afterimage, kunai, neck-breaker and bomb techniques can keep other fighters guessing, making them unsure of how to block or counter incoming attacks.
  • Sheer robustness: She’s tricky to fight because she has one of the most robust move sets of any Street Fighter character, with plenty of chain combos and command techniques.
  • The coolest ninja: There aren’t many full-time ninjas in the Street Fighter series, but Ibuki is the trickiest and most stylish among them.
  • Cool outfit: The “stylishness” is reflected in her outfits. They’re far from stealthy, but they do look cool. This includes her Street Fighter V default outfit, a ninja-style schoolgirl uniform.


7. Akuma

Akuma's coolest combos in Street Fighter V

Akuma (“Gouki” in Japan) is Street Fighter’s Master of the Fist, and the strongest possessor of the “Satsui no Hado.” The “Satsui no Hado” is a fighting intent capable of driving an opponent to fight, sometimes just for the thrill of it. These are enough to explain Akuma’s demonic appearance, which tends to veer a little too close to “edgy,” though he’s surprisingly not the evilest character in the franchise. 

Akuma has been a practitioner of Street Fighter’s iteration of Shotokan Karate far longer than the likes of Ryu and Ken. This explains his robust move set, and stronger combo potential. Akuma’s giant move set comes at the cost of his life bar in most games, but that’s more than made up for through the number of fighting options at his disposal.

Akuma looking cool in his Classic outfit in Street Fighter V.

  • Something for every situation: Akuma can use multiple fireballs from the ground and air to keep an opponent on their toes from a distance. If they try to jump in, he has a dedicated uppercut for that too.
  • Teleportation: The question with Akuma isn’t whether he has the tools to close the gap on an opponent, but which tools he’ll use to do it. Teleportation is yet another one, in addition to fireballs.
  • The Shun Goku Satsu: The “Shun Goku Satsu,” otherwise known as the “Raging Demon,” is a move so brutal that the screen goes blank whenever Akuma uses it. It’s tough to argue against how cool it looks.
  • Broken gameplay: Some Street Fighter games, such as Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 1, made him so powerful that he was broken and banned from tournaments. He’s still extremely good in other games.
  • Stylish looks: Akuma bleeds cool. Whether it’s through his usual black threads with the pointy red hair, or the Sho Nuff-style lion-haired look from Street Fighter V, he looks great.


6. Juri

Juri toeing the line with massive combos in Street Fighter 6.

Juri Han is a Taekwondo prodigy originating from South Korea, who became a sadist after falling for evil influences from Seth and M. Bison in her Street Fighter IV debut. She wanted to get close to Bison in order to kill him in revenge for her parents, but participated in several horrendous activities during that time. She’s mellowed out a bit in Street Fighter V and Street Fighter 6 in terms of her evil behavior, but keeps her sadistic side in the story and in battle. Her cybernetic eye implant adds to her venomous appearance.

Juri is perfectly athletic as a Taekwondo expert, with a move set heavily focused on kicks. The cybernetic eye implant gives her access to the Feng Shui Engine, which beefs up her techniques set by letting her move more swiftly and toss more projectiles. These, combined with her dive kicks, make her a formidable foe, particularly in Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter 6.

Juri's fearsome Feng Shui Engine activated in Street Fighter 6.

  • She’s endearingly evil: Juri is not a good person. But she helps the heroes in Street Fighter V and Street Fighter 6 enough to plant her firmly in anti-villain territory.
  • She’s frightening: In the hands of an expert, Juri can be a powerful force who can keep the opponent on and off their toes.
  • A then-new nationality: The Street Fighter series has been around for years, but Juri was surprisingly the first Korean character to debut in 2010. She remains the only one in the games.
  • Stylish design: Juri’s core design is a nice homage to Jolyne Cujoh of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean manga and anime. She’s since come into her own with her Street Fighter V and 6 designs.
  • The feet: She knows how to use her feet in combat. You didn’t think this was referring to anything else, right?


5. M. Bison/Dictator

A history of the dreadful M. Bison throughout Street Fighter history, of COURSE including the movie adaptation.

M. Bison remained the villain of the Street Fighter franchise for the longest time, thanks to just how evil he is. As the leader of Shadaloo, the man presided over the conquering of many countries and territories. He also kidnapped several people (usually young girls) in the process, for the purpose of brainwashing them into becoming assassins.

Bison utilizes Psycho Power in battle, the ability to create purple energy to hurl at an opponent or surround himself in as an energy burst. It also gives him the power of flight, with moves that can stomp or cross-up other fighters. These moves give him immense pressure opportunities in each installment he’s appeared in.

M. Bison looking fierce in his Street Fighter V win stance.

  • Love to hate ‘em: There’s a reason why Bison lasted so long as a villain. He’s entertainingly detestable.
  • Great preparation: If there’s one thing you can say about Bison, it’s that he knows how to prepare for nearly every worst-case scenario that could befall him.
  • The cool powers: Bison’s Psycho Powers are very cool to watch in motion, and even cooler to use in action against opponents.
  • His move set: Bison has some of the best pressure opportunities of any character in the Street Fighter universe. If he’s not top-tier in some games, he isn’t far from it.
  • The outfit: Bison’s design is a close tribute to Yasunori Kato, the villainous protagonist from Japan’s Teito Monogatari novel. He also has a little of Fist of the North Star villain Raoh in him. It’s no wonder he’s so suave.


4. Guile

Guile demonstrating his ridiculous combo potential in Street Fighter 6.

US Air Force Colonel Guile established himself as a force for justice and revenge in his Street Fighter II debut. Guile entered the tournament to avenge the “death” of his friend Charlie at the hands of, to no surprise, M. Bison. Since Bison’s death (IF he’s truly dead -- you never know with fighting games), he’s continued to investigate other evil organizations that have risen.

Guile is the most unchanged character in the Street Fighter franchise. Other characters have gained and lost special techniques depending on the game, but Guile has remained with the same two since his debut. Granted, both of those moves are superlative, and his strong normal attacks more than make up for them.

Guile looking as strong as he ever has in Street Fighter 6.

  • Those two moves: It speaks to how strong Guile has nearly always been that he’s only needed the Sonic Boom and Flash Kick to feel complete throughout Street Fighter’s history. Sometimes, the basics are enough.
  • Those normal attacks, though: But he only needs those because his normal attacks are so good, those hard-hitting knuckles and kicks, and his air throws.
  • He doesn’t let revenge rule him: He’s out for revenge against Bison in several games, but he doesn’t let that define him thanks to his strong sense of justice.
  • He goes home to be a family man: Perhaps it’s his family, including his wife Jane and daughter Amy, that help keep him in check. He maintains a great relationship with both.
  • That iconic theme: Guile’s theme goes with everything, yes, especially the man himself.


3. Ken

Ken demonstrating his combo potential in Street Fighter 6.

Ken Masters has been with the Street Fighter brand since its start, in the often-forgotten first game in the franchise originally released in 1987. He’s forever been a friend, training partner, and rival to Ryu, with the two sharing similar attacks as practitioners of Street Fighter’s Shotokan Karate. But he went down a different path in life than his counterpart by getting married and starting a family.

Ken was an identical clone to Ryu for player 2 when he started in Street Fighter 1, but future games distinguished him from his main counterpart. Ken was given more unique normal attacks over time, and extra spins on his special attacks. Gameplay wise, he’s ironically been better than Ryu in several games.

Ken looking ready for a roundhouse in Street Fighter 6.

  • More unique special attacks: While Ryu has focused on having stronger fireballs, Ken has come with stronger and flasher uppercuts.
  • The better combos: Ken has come with better combo potential over time, which started with Super Street Fighter II Turbo. This is a big reason why he’s placed higher on tier lists.
  • He’s laughably cocky: Ken has far more taunts and speech in battle, making him more fun to watch in action than Ryu. Those taunts even came with gameplay benefits in the Street Fighter III games.
  • He went home to be a family man: Ken married Eliza after Street Fighter II. Eliza is, interestingly, Guile’s wife Jane’s sister, making Ken and Guile brothers in law.
  • He remains tough in difficult times: Ken is brought to the lowest point in his life in Street Fighter 6, but he keeps a positive outlook on life.


2. Chun-Li

A look at how Chun-Li has advanced forward in Street Fighter 6.

Chun-Li almost needs no introduction, or justification for her high placement on this list. She’s long been the leading lady of fighting games, with her Street Fighter II introduction paving the way for too many inspirations to count following her. Chun-Li is another fighter with a strong sense of justice. She was also careful not to let revenge for her father’s death at M. Bison’s hands consume her.

Chun-Li was the first female fighter to debut in the series, and was the only one in the first three Street Fighter II titles. She’s such a popular face that Capcom has made sure to feature her as a Street Fighter representative in multiple crossovers. Chun-Li is not only a formidable fighter in nearly every game she’s appeared in, she’s a unique one.

Chun-Li keeping the perparation as light as possible in Street Fighter 6.

  • Always strong potential: Chun-Li is another character who debuted with only two moves in the original Street Fighter II. Similar to Guile, she didn’t need anything more thanks to her very strong normal attacks.
  • Move set development: Unlike Guile, she’s received far more moves over time, and they’ve only made her stronger in battle.
  • Great combos: She has some of the best combo potential of any character in the series, many of which make use of her Lightning Legs.
  • Character development: She’s another character who didn’t let revenge against Bison define her. After his defeat, she retires from Interpol to focus on teaching younger kids how to fight.
  • She’s a family woman: Street Fighter 6 shows how she’s focused strongly on raising Li-Fen out of those she taught to fight, who’s become more of an adopted daughter to her.


1. Ryu

Ryu packing ridiculous combos in Street Fighter 6

No one else in the Street Fighter brand could possibly be at the top of this list than Ryu. The man is the most important character in the Street Fighter series, after serving as protagonist for most games. He also became a mascot for series developer Capcom itself, surpassing Mega Man. In his journey through life, Ryu has always walked down the same path. He wanders the world in search of stronger fighters.

Ryu is, gameplay-wise, the most reliable character in the brand. Whenever a player is uncertain of who they want to play when jumping into a new Street Fighter game, Ryu is there with the same three main techniques he started with in Street Fighter I. Even if he hasn’t been near the top of the tier lists too often, he remains reliable and popular enough that Capcom wouldn’t dare release a Street Fighter game without him.

Ryu is ready to jab someone in Street Fighter 6.

  • Strong individual attacks: Ryu’s combo potential isn’t as high as Ken or Akuma’s, but his individual attacks are stronger. This makes him easier to learn how to play.
  • Move set development: Ryu always comes with a trusty Hadouken, Shoryuken, and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. But his move set has diversified over time with extra fireball options and the Joudan Sokutogeri, otherwise known as the Donkey Kick.
  • Overcoming obstacles: Ryu has a Street Fighter history of resisting evil influences, including the Satsui no Hado that Akuma uses. One of which resulted in the creation of an alternate version known as Evil Ryu.
  • He’s no bum: Ryu always dresses in the same gi, or a variation of it. But don’t mistake him for a bum. He carries around plenty of money and supplies with him through his journey around the world searching for fighters.
  • He doesn’t mix with technology: Street Fighter 6 reveals how hilariously bad he is with technology, chiefly shown through his text messages to the player being extremely brief and laden with typos.


There were too many Street Fighter characters to consider for the top 10, a sign of just how many cool faces exist in this franchise. Don’t get upset if your favorite character didn’t make it. Maybe they would have been included in a top 20. Street Fighter 6 is still being supported with character and story updates as of this writing, so there’s much potential for this list to be shuffled around in the future.

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Geoffrey is the lowest-level Druid imaginable who read too many gaming magazines as a child. This made him decide that he wanted to do this video game journalism thing professionally.
Gamer Since: 1985
Favorite Genre: RPG
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