On a cold Saturday night in January, a street thug tried to steal UFC strawweight Polyana Viana’s new iPhone X. Not only did "that skanky punk" leave empty-handed, but he also got a few painful souvenirs for his mistake.
"He'll think twice before he tries to rob another girl," Viana told MMA Junkie. "He's lucky I left him the use of his legs."
According to Viana, she was waiting for an Uber in front of her apartment complex in Jacarepagua, a posh neighborhood in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
Jacarepagua is an upper-middle class community with chic loft apartments, organic farmer's markets, and designer clothing boutiques. However, Cuidad de Deus — one of Rio's largest and most dangerous slums — is situated nearby and gang violence sometimes spills over into the peace and quiet of Jacarepagua's manicured streets.
"When he got close, I already thought if this guy's a thief, I'll do this and that. I already knew what I was going to do," Viana told CNN Sports. "He was pretty skinny, like he had been doing powder."
Viana had good reason for her confidence in the face of danger. With 10 wins and only 2 losses, the 26-year-old fighter has made a name for herself as a ruthless and clever opponent.
"She beat my ass," recounted Silvana Pinto, who was stopped by a UFC doctor from continuing to fight Viana in 2014. "The medical people literally intervened because my face was so swollen. I couldn't see."
When Viana's assailant approached her out of the shadows, she noticed a bulge in his coat pocket. Then, to her surprise, the man sat down next to Viana and calmly asked for the time.
"As I was looking at my phone, he began to reach for something," she said. "I knew that I would have to act quickly. I couldn't allow him to access a weapon and gain control of the situation."
That's when Viana's would-be attacker told her that he had a gun...
But when Viana saw the sheen of cardboard in the streetlight, she understood immediately that the weapon was fake.
"There's a lot of fake pistolas here in Rio," she said. "It's common. The street thugs don't really have the money to buy a gun, so they get something from a toy store, or they make something. They spend all their cash on cocaine and cerveza."
When the man demanded Viana's smartphone, she responded without hesitation.
The 115-pound "Iron Lady" launched a devastating preemptive strike against "the puny dude."
She quickly landed two punches to his head, the second of which knocked the man into "the perfect position."
"That set him up for a nice roundhouse," said Viana. "I kicked him square in the stomach, forcing a belch out of him. It smelled like liquor and barbacoa."
After the man collapsed on the cobblestone street, Viana moved to grab the "gun" which had skittered away from him in the struggle.
"As I was reaching down, he pushed himself up and sort of lunged towards me," she said. "It actually surprised me because I thought that he was down for the count. It was like when I fought Pamela Rosa — that crazy bitch just kept getting back up."
But Polyana had "a little something" for her attacker, just like she had for Pamela Rosa in October of 2017 at the Watch Out Combat Show...
After landing two solid punches and a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus, Viana put the assailant in what she described as a “rear-naked choke.”
"He was sputtering and his little skinny arms were flailing about," she said. "He really did stink though, but I didn't want to let him go. He'd just try to rob someone else until he got enough money for a fix."
Luckily for Viana's nostrils, a retired professor and his wife were returning home from dinner and happened upon the strange scene. They were shocked to find their neighbor apparently choking (what they later referred to as) "a street urchin."
"I asked them to please telephone the police," Viana said. "I continued to apply pressure around his neck while they looked for their phone. I was giving him just enough air to breath."
Discombobulated by the situation, the older couple was unable to find the wife's cellphone, but Viana had a plan.
"I had them fish mine out of my jacket pocket," she said. "The whole time I'm holding this stinking junkie, he's drunk and wiggling around. It was pretty insane."
And then, thankfully, the police arrived... but so did the media...
Pictures from the alleged incident, reportedly taken by Viana, appeared on UFC president Dana White's Instagram account showing the man's gruesome injuries.
"On the left is @polyanaviana, one of our @UFC fighters and on the right is the guy who tried to rob her," wrote White, who added: "#Badfuckingidea"
Meanwhile, Viana hasn't been able to answer all the messages of support she's received.
"I got to see how much people like me," said the Brazilian. "My fans, family, friends, they all sent me messages asking if I'm okay or if I got hurt. I still haven't answered every one."
The Rio police department were unable to confirm the individuals involved in the incident, but told CNN Sports that "an attempted robbery had taken place."
"A criminal was found immobilized by a civilian after trying to rob a person on site," a statement read. "A fake gun was also seized."
Viana has confirmed that "nothing had changed" following her ordeal and that's she been busy training — and of course, dealing with the influx of attention.
However, the media has left out one detail about the incident she wishes they would have reported...
"I made it really clear in my interviews that I'm a trained fighter," she said. "I know how to defend myself and stay calm in situations like this. I don't want anyone getting the idea that they should try and do what I did."
Viana insists she doesn't want her actions to inspire others "to become vigilantes."
"I would not recommend it at all," she added. "He could have just as easily had a real gun and the situation could have ended very differently. If you find yourself in a similar situation, just give the dude your phone or whatever. You can always get another one."
Viana's next UFC fight will be against Hannah Cifers on March 2nd at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the odds heavily favor Viana — the clear fan favorite.
Click next to checkout Polyana Viana's stats and some of her greatest knockout moments from her butt-kicking UFC career.
Be warned, though: this girl is a beast and these are some bloody videos...