Freda Gibbs, known as “The Cheetah,” was one of kickboxing most dominant fighters. Racking up a number of championships, she became known as “The Most Dangerous Woman in the World.”
Gibbs was born July 8, 1963, in Chester, Pennsylvania. She pursued track and played basketball in college. It would be through track that she earned the name “The Cheetah.” She was such an acclaimed athlete that the women’s national basketball team invited her for a tryout for the Olympic team.
While Gibbs was cut during the tryouts, she went on to become an All American. After completing college at Cabrini, she would play professional basketball in Germany. Prior to entering kickboxing, she trained in taekwondo at the Quiet Storm training center with her uncle being one of her trainers. While pursuing taekwondo competitively, she was a three-time World champion.
Entering Combat Sports
Fredia Gibbs would move to North Hollywood in 1990 and pursued kickboxing under Rubin Urquidez and David Krapes at Benny “The Jet” Urquidez’s training center. She followed this with further training in Thailand then returned to North Hollywood for training at the Muay Thai Academy of America.
When she pursued martial arts competitively, she racked up an impressive 16-0-1 record. The sole draw was via an exhibition draw in a mixed fight. She was dominant between 1994 and 2001 and won three World championships from three different governing bodies. Her first title win in 1994—the ISKA World title—earned her distinction as the first Black women’s champion in the sport.
In 1997, Fredia Gibbs pursued boxing in addition to kickboxing and achieved an impressive record of 9-2-1. Between the two loses The Cheetah had moments of winning streaks. She had a shot at the WIBA World Super Lightweight title in February 2003, but the bout ended in a draw after Gibbs was injured.
In other disciplines, she is 8-0-0 in Muay Thai, 40-3-0 in taekwondo, and 8-3-0 in jujitsu.
After hanging up her ring gear, Fredia Gibbs pursued writing and private training. She lends her experience as a motivational speaker. She has received a number of honors such as “Top Ten Greatest African American Female Athletes of All Time for Kickboxing” in 2016, an induction into the Mickey Vernon Sports Museum that same year, and a double hall of fame induction in basketball and track at Chester High School.