After a disappointing showing on The Ultimate Fighter 11, middleweight prospect Joseph “Leonidas” Henle feels he’s been taking the necessary steps to build up his career.
Having won both his fights this year and raised his record to 7-0-1, Henle positioned himself to make a run, even if he feels he can do better.
“Of course there’s always things to improve upon and I’m never 100-percent happy with how I’ve performed, but I’d rate myself a B or B-,” Henle told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s not been exactly what I wanted to do, but at the same time it’s getting wins, building up the record and doing what you have to do sometimes.”
For his efforts, Henle’s been given the opportunity to fight on a feature bout at MFC 34 on Friday night in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, live on AXS TV. It’s a chance he’s been waiting for so he can help erase some ghosts of his past.
“Being on AXS TV is a big boost and it really helps to get my name out to the fans and get them to see what I’m really about,” he said. “I’m excited to show them what I’ve been working on, what I can do and how I’ve grown since The Ultimate Fighter.”
Henle’s MFC debut won’t be an easy one though, as he faces fellow undefeated fighter Luke Harris in what could very well turn out to be the Fight of the Night and a sleeper candidate for Fight of the Year.
“I’m actually really excited to fight Luke,” said Henle. “He’s a really well-spoken, nice guy who’s on a nine-fight winning streak with a submission game that is on point, but I believe I’ve fought tougher opponents.
“For him, he’s fought a lot of guys, but they seem like a lot of road warriors or guys who just want to scrap. I feel like I’m going to be a step up in opponent for him and he’s just not going to get it done.”
While it could be easy for Henle to discount Harris for not having been out of the first round in any of his fights, he’s not letting his opponent’s lack of late-round wars discount too much what could be a very tough fight.
“I think it will be harder for him (in the later rounds), but I don’t think he’s the type of opponent that just because he hasn’t been past the first round that he’ll break mentally and start giving up,” said Henle. “I do expect to push him harder than anybody has and I don’t expect him to last.”
Should Henle win on Aug. 10, it appears his future could be set and he could get the kind of redemption that outweighs any disappointments he’s had in the past.
“I’m of course not looking past Luke, but I believe that Mark (Pavelich, MFC president) said that the winner between Luke and I will fight in October for the MFC middleweight title,” said Henle.
“That’s pretty much the goal for the year: Get my fights in, make sure to win them all, become MFC champion and kind of go from there.”