The Star Wars continuity is full of some of the most gifted Force users, and only a few stand at the top in terms of their gifts with the Force and their skills with the lightsaber. Arguably the most skilled duelist we saw during the nine Star Wars movies that have been released is Mace Windu, but the most prominent name from the Dark Side of the Force is Darth Vader, who became an icon during the original trilogy. So, in a fight between Mace Windu and Darth Vader, who would win?
Mace Windu is most likely to win in a fight against Darth Vader because of the fact that Anakin Skywalker never fulfilled his potential when he was injured and turned into a cybernetic being. On the other hand, Windu is powered by his Vaapad and was skilled enough to beat Palpatine.
Although Anakin Skywalker was supposed to be the strongest Force user in existence, that didn’t happen when he truly transformed into Darth Vader after losing to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Mustafar. In that regard, he is a “what if” story that couldn’t even become strong enough to overthrow the Emperor. That is why Mace Windu, at his peak, could defeat Darth Vader.
Mace Windu was one of the strongest Jedi Masters of his time and was, at one point, the Master of the Order before the title was consolidated with the Jedi Grandmaster during the time of the Clone Wars. This speaks to his strength, as he is an incredibly gifted Jedi with the physique and lightsaber ferocity that allowed him to win fights like a one-man army.
Darth Vader may have lost a lot of his potential when he turned cybernetic, but that only allowed him to become stronger in terms of his physique. Even with one hand, he was easily strong enough to deliver lightsaber strikes and blows that could overwhelm his opponents. While he did sacrifice speed and mobility, he did become stronger to make up for the fact that he was no longer as spry as he used to be when he was still Anakin.
Mace Windu was a strong Jedi Master, but Darth Vader has the strength advantage here due to his cybernetic limbs. It is possible that a one-handed strike from Vader is already equal to a two-handed strike from any other Force user.
Windu 0, Vader 1
One of the things that made Mace Windu so incredibly good as a duelist was his speed. That’s because Form VII: Vaapad relied on strong and rapid blows that allowed Windu to easily overwhelm his opponents. You could see his speed in his battle with Emperor (then Chancellor) Palpatine, as he was able to match his speed blow for blow in an epic duel that disarmed Darth Sidious. And Sidious himself was an incredibly fast Sith that was able to quickly defeat three Jedi Masters due to his speed.
One of the most glaring weaknesses of Darth Vader was his lack of mobility. That’s because his cybernetic limbs and his life-support system weighed him down to the point that he couldn’t move as quickly and as nimbly as he once did when he was still a Jedi. In the different duels Darth Vader engaged in, he was more likely to overwhelm his opponents with his powerful strikes and superior command over the Force, unlike before when he was able to move nimbly as Anakin Skywalker.
While Mace Windu may not be as strong as Darth Vader, he did have the speed advantage over the dark lord of the Sith. When focused, Windu should be able to speed-blitz Vader into submission.
Windu 1, Vader 1
Mace Windu was one of the most skilled Jedi Masters of all time when it comes to his command over the lightsaber due to the fact that he has mastered Form VII: Vaapad, which is a form that draws from the Dark Side of the Force. Due to the nature of this form, the Jedi don’t use it as it draws them closer to the Dark Side. However, Windu was able to master it without succumbing to its negative effects. As such, he is capable of fully utilizing Vaapad’s aggressive, powerful, and quick strikes in a battle.
During his time as Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader was an extremely gifted lightsaber duelist that ranked near the top as he was able to defeat Count Dooku, who was a great duelist himself. Vader mastered Form V: Djem So, which relies on a good combination of defensive moves and quick counterattacks that allowed him to take advantage of quick openings. This style is physically demanding as it forces the user to transition quickly from defense to offense in a heartbeat. And when he became a cybernetic being, Vader mostly utilized the Force for defensive purposes while using Form V.
Even though Vader was a strong duelist that was capable of standing toe-to-toe with Jedi Masters, Mace Windu was on an entirely different level. It is possible that Vader could’ve been the strongest duelist if it weren’t for his injuries on Mustafar. But, as far as we know, Windu is better.
Windu 2, Vader 1
While a good part of Mace Windu’s offense as a Jedi relied on his lightsaber skills, he was never a slouch when it came to his Force powers. He was excellent at augmenting his power and speed using the Force and was also capable of foreseeing the future due to his connection with the Force. He was also proficient at using his telekinetic abilities using the Force, as he could easily push and pull heavy objects quickly. Windu was also able to sense shatterpoints, which are weak points that he could take advantage of in any situation.
Darth Vader was always one of the most gifted Force users and, at nine years old, already had a midi-chlorian count that exceeded Master Yoda’s. His ability to foresee the future was unmatched by any other Jedi, and his ability to sense people’s feelings was unparalleled. Vader was so strong with the Force that it was quite easy for him to telekinetically lift incredibly heavy objects or even Force-choke people remotely. Had he not been injured, he could have been the most powerful Force user ever.
Despite the fact that Darth Vader was injured in Mustafar, he is still incredibly gifted with the Force and is probably second only to the Emperor during the reign of the Empire. That said, he easily trumps Mace Windu in this department.
Windu 2, Vader 2
Mace Windu’s feats were almost unparalleled when compared to the other Jedi of his time because he defeated some of the strongest opponents any Jedi could have during the time of the Clone Wars. In the Battle of Geonosis, he was able to defeat Boba Fett, who was the strongest bounty hunter of his time and was strong enough to take out Jedi Masters. Then, in the climax portion of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, he overwhelmed Palpatine in a lightsaber duel and was able to deflect his Force lightning back to him.
Darth Vader’s feats were also special when you look at them. As Anakin, he was able to defeat not only Asajj Ventress but also Count Dooku. Nevertheless, as Darth Vader, his achievements weren’t really that special as he mostly ordered his Inquisitors to hunt down all of the remaining Jedi in the galaxy. Still, Darth Vader overwhelmed Reva Sevander without any effort and was able to completely scare off and force Cal Kestis to retreat in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Their feats are quite close, but the fact that Darth Vader lost to Obi-Wan Kenobi twice during his prime years kind of offsets his achievements. Most of his best achievements were when he was still Anakin. Meanwhile, Windu defeated Darth Sidious, a foe not even Yoda could defeat.
Windu 3, Vader 2
Mace Windu vs. Darth Vader: Who Would Win In A Fight?
Darth Vader is truly a “what if” story because he was full of incredible potential and could have easily been the strongest Force user in the history of the galaxy. While he was still a powerful Force user when he became more machine than man, the fact is that he was hindered greatly by his cybernetic parts and his need for a life-support system. So, if he were to battle Mace Windu, one of the most accomplished Jedi of his time, there is a good chance that the Jedi Master would overwhelm him in a duel, much like how Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to do so.