UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade and her wife Fernanda were the victims of a carjacking at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro last week, and the diminutive Brazilian admits she feared the assailants were going to shoot her during the ordeal.
The newly-crowned champion spoke to ESPN about the incident and said her and her wife were driving at around 2 a.m. when they noticed a motorcycle approach them.
"The lights went red, and I slowed down. I saw a motorcycle close, and when I realized he was already by my side, I wasn't quite aware of what was going on," Andrade said. "I thought he was going to ask me something. When I saw the gun, I was like, 'Oh crap.'"
Initially, the 27-year-old thought the criminals were only after her belongings and one of them took Fernanda’s ring before the other one asked the pair to exit the vehicle.
"I wasn't understanding the whole deal," she said. "I got out of the car, but I didn't see him pointing the gun at me at any time."
The criminals tried to steal the car but the hand brake was still on and they exited the vehicle with both Andrade and her wife fearing they would be shot.
"My car's hand brake is a button that was pressed. He didn't know that and was having trouble to make the car go," Andrade said. "I was like, 'Oh great. Now he's going to get out of the car and shoot us. We're screwed.' Until Fernanda told them about the hand brake. They managed to do it and went away."
After the criminals sped off, Andrade and her wife entered a local drugstore and told the shop assistant what just happened before calling the police.
"I couldn't even remember [the] license plate," she recalls.
A woman at the restaurant gave Andrade and Fernanda $40 as the criminals had taken their money.
"I didn't know if I was going to cry about the car or because of her. ... Nobody does that. I need to go back there and give her a gift," Andrade said.
Andrade said she kept her cool during the ordeal and just gave the criminals what they wanted so they would leave without hurting them.
"During the crime, I kept my cool," Andrade said. "I'd let them take everything. I don't know how I got that calm because Fernanda was losing it. I hugged her and told her 'Everything's gonna be fine. We're going home.'"
Andrade said the criminals wouldn’t have recognized her as a fighter because of what she was wearing, but if they had been unarmed she might have reacted differently.
"I had a white cloth on my head, and I kept my head down ... " she said. "If the guy tries to rob you unarmed, then you can use self-defense. But when he has a gun, don't put your life at risk."
Local police eventually found the stolen car as well as both women's IDs.
Andrade said she was lucky that she wasn’t carrying around the new belt before claiming that despite becoming the new strawweight champion, she’s not a rich athlete like some might believe.
"People think I'm rich," she said. "Well, I'm not. I'm poor just like everybody else. If someone kidnaps me, they're getting nothing but a candy, a gum."