Daniel Balmforth attacked Paul Chadwick on Richardshaw Lane near the Great Northern Hotel pub on in the early hours of January 12, Leeds Crown Court was told.
Mr Chadwick suffered two fractures to his jaw and had to undergo an operation to insert three metal plates to repair the damage.
Balmforth, 29, was handed a suspended prison sentence after admitting causing grievous bodily harm.
Prosecutor, Bashir Ahmed said Balmforth and Mr Chadwick knew each other and there was "a history" between them.
Mr Ahmed said Mr Chadwick was waiting for a taxi on Richardshaw Lane just after 2am on January 12 when he saw Balmforth, who had been driving a car along along the street, stopped next to him.
Mr Ahmed said Mr Chadwick walked over to the car to say hello to Balmforth.
Balmforth got out of the car and punched Mr Chadwick in the face, causing him to fall backwards.
The court heard Mr Chadwick spent five-days in hospital following the attack and is being treated for depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Ahmed said: "The defendant when interviewed said he was defending himself.
"He said he thought he was going to be attacked when the complainant aproached his vehicle and was simply reacting to that."
Balmforth, of Addison Avenue, Bradford, has 13 previous convictions for offences including battery, assault and driving while banned.
A probation officer said Balmforth, who works a labourer for a demolition company, said he had put his offending behind him and changed his life since 2013.
Mitigating, Sean Smith said Balmforth feared his family may lose their home if he was jailed immediately, adding: "He is concerned others would be punished as a consequence of his actions."
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC handed Balmforth a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Balmforth must also complete 20 rehabilitation activity days and do 20 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.
And he must comply with a four month electronically monitored 7pm to 3am curfew and pay £2,000 compensation to Mr Chadwick.