Leah Letson Talks 'Subpar' Coaching From Team Robert Whittaker On TUF 28

UFC Adelaide Media Day Interviews

Another season of The Ultimate Fighter is in the books, and the TUF Finale is once again upon us. 

This past season, The Ultimate Fighter 28: Heavy Hitters featured eight men’s heavyweights and eight women’s featherweights–including Wisconsin’s Leah Letson (4-1).

One of Letson’s main strategies in barreling through the TUF tournament bracket was making sure to stay true to herself. Training with a completely new group of coaches and training partners, Letson encountered many problems during the filming of the reality series.

Openly outlined on the show, her main objection was the lack of intensity in Team Whittaker training sessions. 

“They haven’t exactly shown the training we were doing,” Letson said in an interview with FloCombat. “The training we were doing was literally just shadow boxing the same combinations over and over again. That was our striking training. 

“They finally showed that last week a little bit, but they didn’t show it as much as they should have. It was a real problem. My whole team was not satisfied with the level of training we were getting.

On numerous occasions, Letson voiced her concerns but never felt they were satisfactorily answered. 

“We didn’t have sparring once,” Letson said. “We asked for sparring multiple times and [our coach, Robert Whittaker] wouldn’t let us. 

“We didn’t hit pads hardly at all. And when we did, we were just hitting jabs and crosses. It wasn’t like any hooks or uppercuts or kicks or anything like that. The grappling wasn’t really wrestling. It was just all jiu-jitsu technique, so it wasn’t very intense at all.”

In order to compensate for what she felt was lacking in those sessions, Letson took matters into her own hands.

“We took pads home and were hitting mitts in the backyard,” Letson said. “I was doing strength and conditioning stuff on my own twice a day. The level of training we got from Whittaker and his coaches was really subpar. I wasn’t the only one who felt like that.”

Despite her differences with the Team Whittaker coaching staff, she believes the experience was still positive. Having to steer her own ship, Letson expanded her self-awareness. 

“I learned a lot about myself—just how disciplined and hard-working I can be,” Letson said. “I was able to cut and make weight twice on my own with no coaches or nutritionists or anyone helping me.”

While Letson was eliminated by surging Fortis MMA product Macy Chiasson in the semi-finals, the United States Air Force veteran will still have the chance to compete on the upcoming finale card.

On the undercard of Friday’s aforementioned TUF 28 Finale, Letson will clash with fellow Team Whittaker member Julija Stoliarenko (4-2). Also eliminated in the semi-finals, Stoliarenko lost to finalist Pannie Kianzad by unanimous decision.

“I absolutely love this matchup because she’s very much a jiu-jitsu fighter,” Letson said. “My wrestling and top game is really good for shutting the jiu-jitsu down. I kind of wanted this fight actually. Even on the show I wanted it. 

“I think my striking and wrestling very much outclasses her. I think she’s a one-dimensional jiu-jitsu fighter. My strikes will definitely help me in this fight against her. It’s a perfect matchup for me and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.” 

XFN 23 Full Preview, How To Watch On FloCombat

Saturday night, one of the Southeast’s most exciting MMA promotions, XFN, returns for another action-packed night of combat.

XFN 23: Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva's Daughter, Anne Ribeiro, Makes MMA Debut

Mixed martial arts runs in Anne Ribeiro’s veins, so it only makes sense she’s competing at XFN 23. 

Shamrock FC 316's Evan Elder Inspired By Teammate Kamaru Usman

Evan Elders vs. Antonio Atkins - SFC 309

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloCombat!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

When Dana White wrapped the belt around Kamaru Usman’s waist at UFC 235, the victory extended beyond an individual accomplishment. After years of being one of the best coaches in the world, Henri Hooft finally had a UFC champion, and his team, Hard Knocks 365, could finally claim they won gold at the highest level. 

Shamrock FC 316 Full Preview, How To Watch: Dowdy, Elder Highlight Card

Shamrock FC 316's Jordan Dowdy Goes Retro

Oh boy. It’s happening again! 

UFC London's Arnold Allen Wants At Least Three Fights In 2019

When Arnold Allen steps into the cage this weekend at UFC Fight Night 147 in London, he’ll be looking to make it five straight wins inside the Octagon. That win would put him in elite company in the featherweight division—a tie for third with Zabit Magomedsharipov. He would only trail champion Max Holloway and top challenger Alexander Volkanovski. 

Mike Grundy Wrestling For A Nation At UFC London

The stereotype is well ingrained in the fabric of MMA; English fighters can’t wrestle. 

Top Turtle MMA: UFC London Breakdown, Top 5 Low-Key Beasts In UFC

On this week’s episode of the Top Turtle MMA Podcast on FloCombat, Gumby and Dave are diving into UFC Fight Night 147 from London in a big way. They’re not only breaking down the top fights from the card, but they’re also joined by three of the fighters on the card.

Undefeated Heavyweight Rudy Schaffroth To Face Jeremy Hardy At Bellator 218

One of Bellator MMA’s top up-and-coming heavyweights is set to return March 22 at Bellator 218 in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Gerald Meerschaert vs. Kevin Holland Targeted For UFC On ESPN 2

UFC on ESPN 2: Philadelphia is just over two weeks away, but the lineup isn’t set just yet.

UFC Wichita's Beneil Dariush Credits Work With Vettori, Kelvin Gastelum

Although the amount of fighters going up a weight class seems to be climbing, there are still a number of them who are a standard deviation away from the average mass of their division-mates. Whether or not this is an advantage, it certainly has to be a consideration for their opponents.