TUF Heavy Hitters Blog: Leah Letson

My name is Leah “Nidas” Letson. I’m competing for a six-figure UFC contract on this season of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters on FS1, and this is the first installment of my weekly behind-the-scenes TUF blog for

First, thank you for joining me here. Competing on The Ultimate Fighter is a dream come true, and I’m loving every minute of it. I’m also very happy that I get to share my experience on this platform with you, and I hope you enjoy both the show and my blog.

Second, I’d like to take a minute to introduce myself a bit more. I did taekwondo and karate from the age of five to 17. When I was a student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and preparing for basic training for the Air Force, I decided to try a cardio kickboxing class so I could get in better shape for serving overseas. One thing led to another and I made my MMA debut on very short notice about a month after I began training.

I’m now 4-1 as a professional fighter, which I’ve balanced with serving overseas. I’ve now been in the Air National Guard for six years, and was recently serving in the Middle East for seven months before TUF filming began earlier this year.

When I’m not a few thousand miles from home, I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and train at Pura Vida with a few faces you may be familiar with, like UFC fighters Zak Ottow and Montel Jackson. I’ve had the opportunity to train with quite a few UFC fighters, but it was pretty surreal first entering the TUF gym. It didn’t exactly help that you were standing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of people you’re not only going to live with for the next several weeks -- but ultimately you’re going to fight them as well. It was awkward, a little tense, and really cool at the same time.

After a few days, you accept the fact that you’re going to be fighting your friends in the house, and really it just becomes a business transaction in the Octagon. But the first few days were a little odd, to say the least.

At first, I was a little offended to be selected second. I thought I was being overlooked, but ultimately I was really happy to be selected by the champ, Robert Whittaker. After that, I got a whole lot happier stepping into the famed TUF house for the first time. I live in the ghetto of Milwaukee and have never been wealthy, so it was another surreal experience walking into a massive mansion.

There’s a beautiful pool with a waterfall and an awesome hot tub in the back. Coming from where I’m from to stepping into that type of glamorous lifestyle was one of many odd experiences from the first week. But it was also very motivating. I wouldn’t be on the show if I didn’t believe I could win it, but seeing this type of luxury pumped me up even more for the competition.

Thank you for joining me for the first week of my blog. I’ll be back every Thursday with a behind-the-scenes look at this season of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters on FS1.
Saturday, September 22
Sao Paulo, Brazil


Watch the post-fight press conference live following the event.
Sep 22, 2018
Thiago Santos and Eryk Anders square off in the main event in Fight Night Sao Paulo, and both fighters believe the bout will end in a knockout.
Sep 21, 2018
Opponents Thiago Santos of Brazil and Eryk Anders of the United States face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. The two will square off Saturday in the Sao Paulo main event on FS1.
Sep 21, 2018
Watch as Conor McGregor earned his first UFC belt when he defeated Chad Mendes at UFC 189 for the interim featherweight championship. McGregor takes on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in the main event on October 6 live on Pay-Per-View.
Sep 21, 2018