2. He earned one of the most prestigious film homages in the Star Wars canon
Most people don’t realize that Star Wars isn’t completely an original story concept. When George Lucas wrote the original film, he was strongly influenced by the works of Akira Kurosawa, especially the film, The Hidden Fortress.
Clone Wars took a cue from this and did a special episode called “Bounty Hunters” based on Kurosawa’s most famous film, The Seven Samurai—the story of a band of samurai who are hired by starving farmers to rescue them from cruel bandits (if this sounds like the plot of The Magnificent Seven, it’s because that film was inspired by Kurosawa as well). In the Clone Wars version, the villagers were replaced by spice farmers on planet Felucia, the samurai by Jedi and rag-tag bounty hunters… oh, and the bandits were, of course, replaced by Hondo and his reprobate pirates.
Hondo wasn’t exactly a man of scruples in his early years, and he proved a formidable foe to Skywalker, Kenobi, Ashoka Tano, and the bounty hunters during the incident. The Jedi and hunters managed to train the beleaguered farmers just enough to withstand an assault by the Ohnaka Gang, but the cost ended up being very high for the Felucians and their protectors. Hondo nearly succeeded in obliterating the village with his favorite tank until he was forced to engage Anakin Skywalker in single combat. Which leads us to another interesting point…
3. He’s stood toe-to-toe with some of the toughest characters in Star Wars history
Hondo actually was able to hold his own in an electrostaff-verses-lightsaber duel with Anakin Skywalker— Darth Vader himself. In the end, Anakin prevailed by literally kicking Hondo off a cliff. Hondo clung to the ledge like a spider, convinced the still-honorable Anakin to pull him up, then double-crossed Anakin immediately by trying to shove him into the firing path of a turret. Skywalker survived, but Hondo escaped once more.
Even more-so than Anakin, Hondo repeatedly ran afoul of Obi-Wan Kenobi—to the point it’s difficult to keep track of how many times the two switched back and forth between being enemies or being allied. The relationship became such a common trope, that during one notable battle with the Empire's nastiest, Hondo bolstered his men’s courage by declaring of their foes, “How tough can they be?! They’re running from KENOBI!”.
By the way, it just so happens that the foes in question were Darth Maul and his hulking brother, Savage Opress. This is the caliber of dangerous Hondo regularly tangled with. Hondo somehow repeatedly survived encounters with the toughest foes the galaxy had to offer, from bounty hunters to Count Dooku to General Grievous.
4. He’s had some seriously complicated relationship with the most dangerous scum in the galaxy
Hondo has had some… interesting relationships with the galaxy’s deadliest dirtbags. The most notable example of this is that he somehow managed to romance infamous bounty hunter, Aurra Sing—one of the cruelest characters in the entire Clone Wars series. After reuniting with Aurra, Hondo partnered with Bossk and a young Boba Fett to try to kill Mace Windu. Windu survived, but this incident ironically ended with Hondo ultimately taking possession of one of the most infamous ships in Star Wars history—Boba Fett’s Slave I. Hondo may have even had some influence on Fett's concept of honor.
The quiet years before the Galactic Civil War are where we see Hondo’s Galaxy’s Edge ties start to form. During this time, he met and was hired by Dok Ondar (the infamous proprietor of Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities which you can visit at the Black Spire Outpost) on Batuu to steal a Kyber Crystal statue from under the nose of the Guardians of the Whills-- specifically Chirrut Imwe (the enigmatic Force user we meet in the film Rogue One). This plot actually succeeded.
Hondo even dipped a toe into the world of bounty hunting himself by teaming up with the assassin droid IG-88 to capture Crimson Dawn lieutenant, Qi’ra (who we met in the film Solo: A Star Wars Story). This was one of Hondo’s less successful ventures as Qi’ra ultimately outmaneuvered Hondo and IG-88, convincing them to turn on each other, after which she captured them both and claimed bounties on their heads.