In terms of Demon Slayer, the best known and most important fight was that between Tanjiro and Muzan, of course, which ended the story on a very epic note. But that wasn’t actually the most epic fight in the story. The most epic fight in Demon Slayer happened many years before the main storyline, when the most powerful demon, Muzan Kibutsuji, fought the most powerful Demon Slayer, Yoriichi Tsugikuni.
Although he wasn’t able to kill Muzan, Yoriichi Tsugikuni is stronger than the head demon. In their fight, Yoriichi was able to easily overpower Muzan and discovered his weak points after very little time, which enabled him to easily defeat him and almost kill him. Muzan managed to escape, but he was eternally scarred by this battle and he feared Yoriichi and those that used his techniques for the rest of his life.
Now that you have the short version of the answer, the rest of the article is going to be divided into three sections, with the first two introducing the characters, their powers, and their abilities. In the end, we’re going to give our final verdict and explanation on why Yoriichi is, undoubtedly, stronger than Muzan.
Yoriichi Tsugikuni and His Powers
Yoriichi Tsugikuni is a major supporting character in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. He was a legendary Demon Slayer of the Demon Slayer Army during the Sengoku Era. Yoriichi is the younger twin brother of Michikatsu Tsugikuni, who later became a demon and joined the Twelve Demonic Moons, serving as Upper First Moon.
Yoriichi is the strongest known demon slayer in history. He was born with the mark of the demon slayer, the transparent world, and the selfless state, and has a god-like physique and an innate talent for swordsmanship. As a child who had never picked up a sword before, he could easily defeat a trained sword teacher and was called an incomparable prodigy.
After training as a demon slayer, Yoriichi was able to defeat several demons, so much so that his older brother said that as a child he could not even match him as an adult. As the only one of the demon slayers, he was able to corner Muzan Kibutsuji and overpower him in the blink of an eye, leaving him on the brink of death until he managed to escape.
Although he escaped death, Muzan was deeply scarred by the encounter and called him a monster. Even the sight of his earrings made him tremble with terror, and the mere memory of Yoriichi made the bodies of other demons he had never met tremble. Shortly before his death at the age of at least 85, he fought his older twin brother Kokushibo, who turned into a demon.
Despite his advanced age and apparent blindness, he quickly gained the upper hand in the fight, slitting his throat in a single motion before finally dying standing up unharmed. Kokushibo himself admits that he would have killed him if Yoriichi had struck a second blow before dying, while saying that Yoriichi’s power was still in full bloom.
Developed by Yoriichi himself as the original breathing style after which all other subsequent styles were modeled, it was later copied by Sumiyoshi, who called it Hinokami Kagura. Yoriichi was incredibly proficient with his Sun Breath, able to defeat demons effortlessly and even overpower the Demon King and the strongest Upper Rank.
Tanjiro noticed that when Yoriichi performed the Sun Breath techniques, he displayed such strikingly beautiful and breathtaking forms that he looked more like a ghost than a human.
Yoriichi is the greatest swordsman who ever lived. Even as a child with no training, he was able to defeat a skilled swordsman with ease the first time he picked up a sword, hitting him in several places on his body faster than the eye could process.
His swordsmanship was so formidable that you would have to have a fighting dummy with 6 arms wielding katanas and 108 techniques to even attempt to imitate Yoriichi’s skills, and even then the dummy was far inferior to him.
Muzan Kibutsuji and His Powers
Muzan Kibutsuji is the main antagonist of Demon Slayer. He is a Demon, being the first of his kind, who has lived for over a thousand years, being as such, responsible for the origin of the other demons, responsible for having corrupted Michikatsu Tsukiguni and being the one who murdered Tanjirō’s family and Nezuko, turning the latter into a Demon, being the trigger for Tanjirō’s desire for revenge towards him.
As the first Demon, Muzan’s powers surpass anything seen before. Muzan is so strong that he was able to withstand the confrontation with five Hashira and Tanjiro at the same time. So strong is he, that he was able to leave Tanjiro on the brink of death, as well as several Hashira, were it not for the timely intervention of Chachamaru and the antidotes he supplied to the Hashira and Tanjiro so that they could survive the effects of the poison present in his blood.
After 30 minutes of combat, Muzan manifested whips from his legs, increasing his attack speed exponentially, to a point where he instantly defeated five Hashira who were exhausted: Gyomei, Giyu, Sanemi, and Obanai, as well as Zenitsu and Inosuke at the same time, while leaving Kanao paralyzed with fear and with her sword broken.
It is later revealed that Muzan was getting slower and slower, due to the effects of the aging medicine provided by Tamayo, which sped up his aging massively. Despite everything, he was able to subdue the Hashira that faced him, as well as Tanjiro who was just learning to use Sun Breathing.
His strength, speed, resistance and regeneration capacity are superior to any conventional demon, also adding his exclusive number of unique abilities you have; below is a list of his powers.
Blood Demon Art
Blood Demon Art and his Demonic Blood are one of Muzan’s main skills. With his blood, Muzan can turn an ordinary human into a Demon that will be under his control thanks to a component present in his blood which, when entering the bloodstream of a human, causes his cells to begin to transform, being of this way a human becomes a demon.
The physical changes and powers that the newly created Demon acquires vary according to the number of people it eats and can even use a supernatural ability called Blood Demon Art by manipulating his blood for various offensive purposes.
However, if a human receives Muzan’s blood in large quantities, their cells will not withstand the physical changes and will self-destruct causing a horrific death by making the person literally dissolve in his own flesh. With this Blood Demon Art, Muzan can manipulate his flesh and blood to create barbed wire which he uses to trap his enemies.
Yoriichi Tsugikuni Vs. Muzan Kibutsuji: Who Would Win?
The best way to actually give you the answer here, without much interference on our side, is to describe the battle between Yoriichi and Muzan, as you will see for yourselves how powerful Yoriichi is and how easily he managed to defeat Muzan.
Yoriichi meets Muzan Kibutsuji, the ancestor demon and mortal enemy of the Slayers, accompanied by Tamayo. Upon meeting him, Yoriichi felt his malicious intent creeping in, likening it to the boiling magma of a ready-to-consume volcano. It was then that he thought he was born with the skills and talent to defeat Muzan once and for all.
Muzan said he had lost interest in swordsmen who use Breathing Styles and performed long sweeps of his arms to kill Yoriichi squarely. Yoriichi dodged them, but instantly realized that any of these attacks would be fatal and felt fear for the first time.
Seeing into the Transparent World, Yoriichi discerned that Muzan had seven hearts and five brains that change position in his body. Seeing his luck, he combined all of his forms into one attack, cutting them all off and overpowering Muzan completely.
Muzan remained in disbelief at his inability to regenerate while struggling to keep his head tied. Yoriichi asked him what he thought was the value of life but received no response. Instead, he turned to Tamayo, but was surprised to see her staring at her master’s dismembered body with a glimmer of hope in her eyes. Moving to kill him once and for all, Yoriichi instead heard the sound of teeth cracking as Muzan’s body shattered into hundreds of small pieces.
Caught off guard, he was only able to destroy 1,500 of the 1,800 pieces, letting the rest escape for Muzan to regenerate again. Despite Yoriichi’s failure to kill him, Muzan never forgot the encounter and remained fearful of Yoriichi for the rest of his life. Tamayo was left on the verge of tears when she realized Muzan had learned to avoid death by beheading, cursing the survival of the demon who ruined her life.
Realizing that Kibutsuji’s curse had failed due to Muzan’s weakening, Tamayo was surprised. Yoriichi approached her and she told him everything he needed to know about Muzan and it was unlikely that he would meet him again. As a thank you for her help, he let her go. Soon after, several demon slayers came to report to Yoriichi that his brother had betrayed the organization and had become a demon.
Yoriichi took responsibility for Michikatsu’s betrayal, his inability to kill Muzan, and let Tamayo escape. The other demon slayers demanded that he commit suicide as a penance, but the new Oyakata prevented him from doing so, allowing him to go on banishment.
And this is why Yoriichi is the clear winner here. Muzan, the most powerful among the demons, was completely powerless against a character that did not seem like a threat to him, but as you could’ve read, Yoriichi demonstrated his amazing skills and easily dealt with Muzan; sadly, Muzan escaped, which resulted in him terrorizing the world for years to come, but in the framework of this article – Yoriichi is the clear winner.