There's a Gu Long ranking somewhere here. Here's my Jin Yong ranking to start a discussion. There's probably some disputes about how I rank them. I'll omit those who didn't appear such as Dugu Qiubai. I want to focus on those that made an appearance and actually faced combat in the novels.
1. Sweeper monk
Defeated numerous legendary figures easily. Enough said.
2. Dongfang Bubai
Even the combined effort of Ren Woxing, Linghu Chong and Xiang Wentian was no match against him. He had the upper hand and would have won if not for the distraction caused by Yang Lianting. To hold his own so well despite being outnumbered by high level opponents is no mean feat.
3. Zhang Sanfeng
The founder of Wudang had no match, even when he was seriously injured.
4. Zhang Wuji, Shi Potian
Zhang Wuji mastered many abilities:
- Wudong Long Fists
- Seven Injury Fists
- Cloud Ascending Steps
- Nine Yang Technique
- Great Heaven and Earth Shift
- Dragon Claw Hands
- Taiji Fists
- Taiji Swordplay
- Holy Flame Tablets
Likewise, Shi Potian picked up many skills:
- Shaolin inner energy cultivation
- Dandan Technique
- Arhat Demon-slaying Technique
- Heroic Way
5. Xu Zhu
He inherited the cultivation of Wu Yazi and Tianshan Tonglao, over two centuries of combined cultivation.
Ranked top in the 33 assassins in ancient China.
7. Zhou Botong
He learns martial arts for fun. He's mastered the Nine Yin Manual, Ambidextrous Technique, Seventy-two Kongmin Fists. All these on top of his years of cultivation as a Quanzhen first generation member.
8. Xiao Feng, Duan Yu
Xiao Feng mastered the full 28 Dragon-subduing Palms, placing him above Guo Jing in the rankings. Duan Yu learned series of skills and is immune to poison. Lingbo Footwork, North Sea Technique, and the Six Pulses Spirit Sword.
9. Guo Jing
Strongest of the New Five Greats. He mastered many skills
- Demon Subduing Staff Skill
- Bare Handed Disarming Skill
- Bone and Joint Dislocation Hand
- Golden Dragon Whip Skill
- Southern Mountain Saber Skill
- Mountain Splitting Palm Skill
- Huyan Spear Skill
- Yue Maiden Swordplay
- Quanzhen cultivation
- Nine Yin Manual
- Eighteen Dragon-subduing Palms
- Seventy-two Kongmin Fists
- Ambidextrous Technique