Fighter returns to cage after riding death in horror crash
MITCH Heron was lying on the side of Caloundra Rd his body broken and his career in tatters after being thrown from his motorbike while riding to work.
He'd broken almost every vertebrae in his spine, three ribs, his left scapula, punctured a lung, needed a shoulder reconstruction and suffered horrific gravel rash and bruises.
Doctors told him that fateful crash in October 2014 should have killed him, and that he'd never walk again.
At the time he was three weeks out from defending his featherweight title and extending his 6-1 record.
Tonight, for the first time since the crash, the Little Mountain brawler steps back into the cage to raise the gloves once more.
"It feels pretty liberating to be honest," Heron said.
"Everyone told me I've never get back into it or to just give up … there's been so much adversity.
"I've never been great at anything other than this, so I think it was my determination to prove them wrong.
"I just want to prove that I had the resilience to get back and also show others that if you do want something bad enough you can make it back again."
Heron's reunion with the cage is scheduled for 9.30pm tonight against Brett Jacobsen at the Eternal MMA 49 on the Gold Coast.
He'll walk out to heavy metal song Jekyll and Hyde by Five Finger Death Punch - a throw to his temperament in and out of the cage.
"People say to me 'you're so nice, how do you get in the cage'," he laughed.
"But I just flick the switch and am there to get it done."
The Shindo MMA Sunshine Coast fighter said he had no nerves, but just wanted to start "trading punches".
"I'm feeling confident," the 30-year-old said.
"There's nothing he (Jacobsen) can do or I've seen he's done in previous fights that I don't have an answer for.
"I'm quite good at pushing the pressure and keeping the pace and people find that difficult. "They expect it to tone down after a little but I always keep pressure."
Heron, who goes into the contest off a 12-week fight camp said his versatile style would give him an edge.
That, and his never-say-die attitude.
"We were training four to five times a week, 2.5 hour sessions and all that in between juggling work and the rest of it," he said.
"I've dealt with a lot of pain over past five years and I've been working extremely hard on maintenance and strength and structure my body and that's always been my priority.
"Since the accident it's been bad but I've also taken the good from it and I want to be able to help people and show people that pretty much they can do what they want and be an inspiration for others."