Leah Letson joins TUF Talk to break down her fight | TUF TALK

Video Details

Letson joined Michael Bisping and Karyn Bryant to break down her impressive victory over Bea Malecki.

KARYN BRYANT: So maybe the fight of the season tonight. Welcome to "TUF Talk." I am Karyn Bryant. This is former middleweight champ, former "TUF" coach and "TUF" winner, Mr. Michael Bisping. And tonight, we are welcoming also the victorious Leah Letson from the show.

Congratulations to you. Heck of a fight. Did it play out the way you expected?

- No, honestly, I didn't know what to expect because I had to take a year and a half off of fighting because I was deployed all last year. So I knew I was going to be rough [INAUDIBLE] when I went in there, and I also knew that it was a totally different environment. I didn't have my coaches. I didn't have my normal training camp leading up into a fight.

And it's just weird being in the house with fighters that you're going to fight. It's just like a totally weird situation, so didn't know what to expect. But I'm glad I came out with a victory.

MICHAEL BISPING: It was a fantastic fight. Was the game plan in the first round to walk forward, eat as many punches in your face, let her elbow you, get tired, and then win by decision?

- No, I'm going to say that definitely was not the plan.

- I'm joking. It was a great plan. I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

It was impressive, though, because you stood there right in the pocket. Did not back up at all. Showed a lot of heart. It was fantastic.

- Thank you. I-- my cardio wasn't as bad as it may have seemed. I was breathing heavy, but like, I definitely could've gone to a third round.

I always breathe super heavy. It sounds worse than it actually is, so my cardio was good for it. Eating the punches, though, you know, I was like, yeah, I should probably work on some head movement after that.

- It's overrated.

- It's for another time. Listen, we're going to keep chatting with Leah, but first, be sure to stay tuned with us here for an exclusive sneak peek of next week's episode. We're going to give you a look at the "Ultimate Fighter" you won't see anywhere else, presented by Cerveza Modelo, the official beer of UFC. Well, RJ Clifford is in the Troll Booth, scanning social media and picking fights. What have you got for us, RJ?

- We trolling! Yes, Karyn, I've never started an online fight I wasn't afraid to run away from. And Leah wasn't afraid to say exactly how she felt about the training on team Whittaker, either. Take a look.

- Sometimes, I feel like I mesh better with the red team and their coaches. I'm used to getting more one on one attention with each coach, especially leading up to a fight, and I really haven't gotten that from Team Whittaker. I think I'll thrive in the environment that Kelvin's team has.

- It's hard to give everyone attention when, you know, when we're trying to focus on each individual fight. You know, now it's Leah's turn for the spotlight. It's her turn to fight. It's important that the communication's there, that we give her what she needs so that she can get out there and perform.

RJ CLIFFORD: So, Leah, you tweeted this out last week. "The way they cut that, it makes it seem like I was looking for a ton of new stuff and one on one attention, but that's not exactly accurate. I was only concerned about losing my conditioning and timing over six weeks due to the lack of real training."

So, Leah, I'm getting mixed signals from you. Did you want one on one training? Did you not want one on one training? What's up?

- Well, of course, you want one on one training. But you know, like, I wasn't upset with Whittaker for not giving me one on one training. I knew that there was other fighters that needed attention.

The way they cut that made it seem like I wanted all the attention on myself, and that's definitely not the case. I just was concerned about the lack of intense training and the lack of, like, live drilling and situational stuff. Because you can lose timing, you can lose speed, you can lose conditioning really quickly. And I knew, over the course of six weeks, if I wasn't getting that intense training at all, that my skills would start to suffer a little bit.

MICHAEL BISPING: First of all, I love the wording of the tweets. "Real training--" very passive aggressive of you. I love it. But did you bring this up to Robert? Did you sit him down one on one and say, Robert, here's the deal, here's what I would like?

- Yes, I did. I actually did tell them that I wanted to hit pads a little bit more. I needed a little bit more intense training, live drilling. Actually, not just me, but other teammates were also asking for sparring, and they flat out, like, refused to do any sparring. So we didn't do any sparring.


- No sparring.

KARYN BRYANT: And why do you think--

- Hold on, you're serious? No sparring?

- I swear to God.

- See, that is crazy. That is absolutely crazy. As a very successful two-time "Ultimate Fighter" coach, I had the guy's spar a lot.

That is the best training you can do. I'm shocked. I'm shocked to hear that.

- Yeah.

KARYN BRYANT: Did it-- did it have anything to do with the fact that, especially the last season, there were so many injuries, though? Was it-- was there some hesitancy on that? Maybe just trying to make sure you guys stayed fit enough to make it to your fights?

- I mean, we weren't doing very much intense training, so I don't know how they would expect us to stay fit if we're not doing intense training or sparring at all? I mean, they showed clips of us, like, hitting mitts and hitting the bag, but that was very infrequent. So it actually-- we didn't do it hardly at all throughout the six weeks, and we didn't do any sparring whatsoever. And we were begging for it, literally begging for it, and they just flat out refused. And I wasn't the only one that felt like this.

- Now, well, I was just about to say, perhaps you are the only one because a little birdie tells me that you trained five times a day. OK? So even if you trained twice really hard, you're lacking three more sessions per day.

KARYN BRYANT: But maybe she trains an hour at a time.

- A, is that true? B, that's too much. C, I got Robert Whittaker's side here. I'm sorry. You know, five is too much. It's too much.

- I don't--


- --necessarily need five times a day, and also some of that's technical training, not like super intense training. Obviously, you can't go intense five times a day.

MICHAEL BISPING: You need it five times a day?

- No. So I mean, I don't need it-- need to train--


- You screwed me up.

- Sorry.

- I don't need to train necessarily five times a day. That's what I do sometimes.

- You just need to get a sweat on five times a day.

- No, I need to get an intense training session at least once a day, most days of the week, and we weren't doing that at all. So I mean, we maybe had one intense session per week, if that.


- Yes.

MICHAEL BISPING: See, that is crazy, to be honest. When you're trying to get ready for a fight, and you're trying to keep that momentum, trying to stay in tip-top condition, which you need to be for a fight-- I agree. I mean, I did it-- obviously, we weren't there. We didn't see that. And if it is-- if it isn't that intense, then yeah, I don't blame you, if I'm honest.

LEAH LETSON: And I'm-- the way they edit it, like, it show-- it makes it look like it was a lot more intense than it actually was, and I'm telling you right now, it was not. We did one intense session maybe, if that, per week. And I'm not the only one who felt this way. I was the first one to speak up, so--

MICHAEL BISPING: So if Robert Whittaker was looking down the barrel right now, what would say you to him? No, because you went there to try and win. You're saying you didn't get the training you needed. It wasn't as intense.

I don't know how the show pans out, but you know, what have you got to say? How would you rate it, and what would you say to Robert Whittaker? If he was going to coach again next season, what would your advice be?

- I guess my advice would just be to show up and act like you care a little bit more about our success. He just-- he wasn't really invested in us, and it was obvious. And Kelvin was invested in this team. I mean, he came over to the house all the time.

He was-- he actually looked up their previous fights. He knew what kind of fighter they were. I mean, Whitaker didn't really do any research on us. Maybe he was a normal "TUF" coach, and they don't normally do that. But in comparison to Kelvin, he just-- it showed that he didn't care nearly as much. And so--

- Well, you did end up winning your fight, which is a good thing.

- Right, totally.

- So--

- Kelvin sounds like a nerd.

- In light--

- Did a lot of homework?

- In light of that--

- What is this?

- How did you feel going into-- I know you were-- you know, you were fighting some ring rust and everything. But when you did get that concentrated focus from Robert and the other coaches, did you feel that you were prepared for that fight?

- Yes, I definitely did. I mean, I also did months of preparation before I even left for the show, so I came on the show, like, ready to fight. So all of my preparation-- like, I put myself through an eight, nine month fight camp for this, so--


- Yeah, I-- because I was originally signed to the UFC back in January to fight Yana Kunitskaya, so I was in the training camp for that. And then that fell through because she fought Cyborg, so then the UFC's like, stay ready. So I stayed ready. I was in fight camp permanently--

MICHAEL BISPING: So it's no wonder you look so good then, because I was going to say, your opponent has a very good pedigree in stand-up, but you pretty much outstruck her. Yes, you took some shots. You got-- you caught that elbow in the face, but you beat her at her own game. Then you took her down. It was a solid decision win.

- Yeah, I think it's just because I was training so hard for such a long time leading up to the-- to that fight, that even though I wasn't getting the training that I was used to, all the preparation before coming to the show definitely paid off.

KARYN BRYANT: You know, one thing I do have to ask, do you bruise easily? There-- I felt like, after that fight-- my goodness, I felt so bad. And then there's a couple times, you know, where we see "TUF Confessions" or things, and you can tell it's in the aftermath, and you're still bruised. I think, this poor woman. But is that an issue you deal with?

- I normally bruise very easily, and after that fight, man, my face was so messed up. I was like-- I looked in the mirror after that fight, and I was like, am I sure I won that? Like, I'm not 100% sure what happened there.

MICHAEL BISPING: I've been there a few times.