How Strong Are These Characters
How strong do you think are the following characters compared to other fighters in the realm? All of them have some accomplishments to their names but never get too much spotlight.
Bronn believed he had a chance against Ser Gregor. Enough said.
Randyll Tarly has a valyrian sword, but has no realy combat feats; he's a general, like Ned.
Sandor Clegane? He's ranked just below but close to his brother his brother in the books.
He's ranked around Jaime in show.
Loras Tyrell (BOOKS) is a better jouster than Jaime; Jaime admits that it wasn't just luck Loras beat him in book 4.
Loras Tyrell show is a pussy.
Syrio Forel? Unquestionably a good fighter. He was the First Sword of Braavos. We never see him fight with a real sword and have armor, though. But with just a wooden (lead filled) sword, he beats up 5 Lannister Guards at once, unarmored, which is a pretty good feat.
book Bronn is ridiculously overrated by the GOT community. Most people seem to be completely unaware of his fight against Ser Vardis Egan. Despite having every advantage (Vardis was 15 yrs older, out of shape, and not even using his own sword, rather one that was provided to him which was noted to be too heavy) his victory was very unconvincing and vardis was at one point able to get bronn on the ground. Contrary to what most people think, he really isn't that good.
Sandor Clegane ranks among the best fighters in the ASOIAF universe
Syrio Forel is easily top tier in terms of speed and skill, as he was able to land dozens of hits on Meryn Trant, a kingsguard and someone noted to be an "adequate" fighter by Jaime Lannister, in their fight before being disarmed
Loras Tyrell has been paralleled to Jaime Lannister as a prodigy with the sword, and was said to have fought almost as magnificently as his brother at Blackwater who we know is a top calibre swordsman, so like sandor and syrio hes very high up in the lists
While we don't have much information with which to gauge Tarlys prowess as a fighter, hes an extremely competent military commander, so its safe to assume hes at least competent with the sword
@ReXDrake; I disagree about Bronn, for one reason. At one point, Tyrion asks Bronn why he's looking at some men training in the yard. Bronn states that his studying them just in case, and points out the flaws in them.
Second, you're ignoring the fact that Vardis had MUCH more armor the Bronn, and was a skilled swordsman himself.
Whereas Bronn might not be able to stand up to top tier people in the ASOIAF canon, he's definitely a good deal above an average mercenary.
Bronn is admittedly quite good at discerning weaknesses in other fighters like he does in the example you gave, but hes very underhanded and dishonourable in combat, which suggests that his abilities aren't quite up to par. Vardis was never implied nor stated to be particularly good with the sword, as a matter of fact the only reason he was elected as Lysas champion was because of his loyalty to her husband, yet he was still able to give bronn a decent fight and didn't even have his own sword
I don't think his fight with Vardis was that bad; he was being wary and looking for ways to win without putting himself in any trouble.