If you looked at the resume of Joseph Henle you probably wouldn’t think MMA fighter. With a Master’s degree in Business Administration from California Lutheran University, most people would assume he’d be a business man. Well think again, Joseph “Leonidas” Henle is a professional fighter with a 2-0 record out of Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy in Valencia, CA. An athlete all his life Henle won a state championship in Tae-Kwon-Do as a young child, played High School and College football but went to school looking to be a financial planner. As everyone knows life doesn’t always play out the way you plan it and Henle’s no different.
What position did you play at California Lutheran University?
Early in my career I was a back up for every position on the defensive line and as I matured into a starter I was still the back up for the other positions. It was a roll I enjoyed while playing. Everyone on the line knew their roll and embraced it whether they were starter’s, backups or practice players.
You got a BS in Business Administration in 2005 & your Masters in 2008. Did you ever think you’d be doing anything but Business Admin?
Once I found my niche in college I had a plan to work in the financial planning industry for a solid 10 years because they say that if you can make it 5 years your set. So I had a plan to get my MBA (which I still did) and then to grind away a hard 5 years before I really got the chance to easy off and enjoy a solid business. Some life situations put some road blocks up and then I got my first taste of coaching and MMA. After that I still had my sites on a career in Financial Planning but working with kids, coaching and fighting MMA just kept calling my name.
When did you realize you wanted to do MMA over Business Admin?
It came while I was still coaching actually. Before I decided that MMA was the route for me I had researched becoming a Math teacher. I love coaching and working with kids and they really give me a drive to do my best not only for myself but to give them a good role model. After joining Big John McCarthy’s team it really gave me the drive to want to make a career out of MMA.
You started training Jiu Jitsu after college and what level have you achieved so for?
I am now a blue belt under ex-IFL and World Jiu Jitsu Champion Fabio Leopoldo. I started doing no-gi Jiu Jitsu with my current coach Brian Peterson in 2006 and continued to compete while going to school and coaching. I had to take big chunks of time off because of other commitments but then in 2008 I met Fabio and when he opened his Gracie Barra school in Ventura where I was his first student. I had never used the Gi before then and I am now fully in love with the Gi. I love training and competing in the Gi, it’s a blast!
How long have you been training at Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy and what’s it like?
I joined BJMUTA in February of this year. It’s been a great experience. I had actually fought one of the team members in 2007 in an amateur MMA fight, which I won, so it was a little strange at first because I didn’t know how I would be received. The team was great about making all the new members and I feel like part of the team and so it has been a great transition. The other fighters are amazing workout partners and really make me push myself to be the best fighter I can be.
Are you a full time fighter or do you have a day job (so to speak)?
That’s a hard question to answer. I actually hold on to a couple of other jobs besides being a Pro fighter. But a full-time job? No. I am a football coach still as well as a bouncer/bartender at Outlaws Bar and Saloon in Camarillo. I help teach Jiu Jitsu at Gracie Barra Ventura as well as give private training lesions.
When is your next fight?
My next fight is on October 2 for California Fight Syndicate. I am fighting Mark Kempthorne.
What do you fight for?
I fight for everyone who sits in an office all day and dreams of doing what they love and making a living doing it. I see people all the time with god given gifts to do certain things and they just waste away doing other things. I’ve got a chance to live a dream and I am going to take it. I feel that I’ve got the training and the drive to be the best. I might not be the best right now but I will be one day. Mark my words I will be the best, one day.
Having accomplished everything he has and done the things he’s done I have no doubt that he will be the best one day. If you want to see Henle fight he will be fighting at the Earl Warn Fair Grounds in Santa Barbara, Ca on October 2 for California Fight Syndicate.
[Updated] Joseph Henle has been filming the new season of the Ultimate fighter and will be one of the fighters competing. Look for him every Wednesday once the season starts and check back here for more info on Henle.