“It seems like I have a string of active years and then years when injuries just take their toll,” said one-time MFC middleweight title contender Joseph “Leonidas” Henle when looking back on 2013.
In what was supposed to be his breakout year, Henle spent much of 2013 sidelined with a hand injury sustained in his only fight against Miguel Cosio in March.
“We were thinking it was just a warm-up fight because we figured we’d be fighting (Sam) Alvey for the (MFC middleweight title),” said Henle. “30 seconds into the fight, I broke my hand on his face and after that it threw the whole game plan out the window and mentally we were just kind of shot.
“In the second round, I come out and D’Arce (choked) him, so at least it was nice to not lose, but while we were on the ground, I accidentally rolled both of our bodies over my hand and that’s when the bones displaced.”
Henle was referred to Orthopedic Specialist Dr. Steven S. Shin, who is the Director of Hand Surgery at Kerlan-Jobe, and is a hand specialist for many Los Angeles-based sports teams including the Lakers, Dodgers, and Kings. It was there that Henle began an odyssey of recovery that would last much of the year over the course of two separate surgeries.
“The first surgery in March went well, they put the plate in and everything was good,” said Henle. “They told me it would be four months before I’d be able to do anything with it. Two months later my hand wasn’t taking the plate, so unfortunately we had to take the plate out.
“At the end of May, they went in, took the plate out, and even though the bone was healing well, they had to fill the screw holes with bone filler, so I had to wait another four months until I could hit anything.”
Henle (9-1-1) will return to action for the first time in a year on March 28 when he faces Ronald Lebreton Jr. (8-8) at BAMMA USA: Badbeat 12 in Commerce, Calif.
“I was going to use this as a tune-up for another fight, but at this point I just want to really go out there and see if my hand holds up,” Henle told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m going to try to take his head off, take his body apart, and box a lot in this fight.
“I want to just see how my hand holds up and see how it goes from there. It doesn’t matter who the opponent was, the game plan would have been the same.”
Henle admits that right now he’s at a crossroads and unless an opportunity comes his way soon, he may decide to step away from the fight game and focus on his personal life.
“The game plan for this year is to take this fight and if the hand holds up, cool, maybe we fight again, but if it breaks, I’m done and I’m going to stop,” he said. “I’ve got different goals and aspirations. It’s got to be worth the effort to drive everywhere and lose the time I have with my family.
“I really like my normal job and I really love the family situation I’m in right now. I’m doing all this travelling and I’m kind of getting tired of doing all that driving just to get training. I feel phenomenal, but getting into a big organization is one of those things to where it’s hard to make that wait.”