If you had to choose one main character in Cobra Kai, it would probably be Miguel Diaz (Xolo Mariduena). Of course, Johnny gets more screen time at the very beginning, but Miguel is the heart of the story. He’s the new karate kid – someone who gets picked on, who learns to fight to defend himself, and eventually becomes a champion. But as is often the case, Miguel makes a few mistakes along the way, resulting in a brief but significant commitment to the No Mercy style.
To be fair, Miguel only really takes brutality during one fight, but he’s pretty big. His All-Valley championship fight with Robbie at the end of the first season cements his position as champion and puts Cobra Kai back on the map, but Miguel wins with a truly nefarious tactic. He repeatedly targets Robbie’s injured shoulder – an injury caused by an attack by Cobra Kai earlier in the tournament – with no remorse, directing all of his anger towards his opponent. As he boldly states to his sensei in the middle of a fight, “There’s nothing dirty about winning.”
After that, Miguel bears the weight of his humiliating victory for a long time to come, and he suffers much more than enough as a result. While his descent into darkness doesn’t last as long as some of the others on this list, the fullness of his growth and redemption is so satisfying to watch that he easily earns a higher spot.