“Relentless” Aaron Lacey is an intelligent, well spoken, down to earth individual. He has a fiancee, of whom he speaks often and warmly. He has a future step-daughter, a responsibility that he takes very seriously. He loves superheroes (more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy). And his passion is to clobber a person, or painfully manipulate their joints, or cut off their oxygen supply, until they just can’t take any more.
On February 11, Lacey steps into the cage in Lewiston, Maine, for the 27th NEF event, entitled “Resurgence.” His opponent this time around is Chris Jacobs, an experienced fighter from Florida. I had an opportunity to interview Lacey at Young’s MMA, where he is training for his fight. After chatting for awhile, I can imagine how difficult Jacobs’ night will be this Saturday.
“If you drop me,” Lacey says, “I better be unconscious when I hit the floor because its the only way that I’m gonna stop. If you choke me you better put me to sleep. If you got something, you better snap it. I’m not quitting until it’s done, until it’s over. I’m not finding an easy way out.”
Training for five and a half years, and fighting for almost four, Lacey has not even been pro for 12 months, and is already something of a local celebrity. Undefeated after four fights, his most recent victory came over Taylor Trahan at NEF 26: Supremacy, which took place in Lewiston on the 19th of November. Lacey forced the fight to a TKO stoppage in 3:14 of Round 1, after a vicious strike to Trahan’s liver left the more experienced fighter unable to continue.
“He’s got like four times as much experience as I have,” Lacey recounted. “He’s fought the who’s who in New England, and I put him away in the first round. Anyone who fights me is going to have their hands full.”
Lacey is an extremely well rounded fighter, and it is clear that he focuses on all aspects of his game. He trains almost daily at Young’s MMA, with a work ethic that he learned from his father. “I’ve always been an extremely hard worker. Pretty much since I can remember, my Dad would get up at five in the morning and get home at eight at night… manual labor, whatever he was doing. Didn’t complain, didn’t call in sick, didn’t do anything but work hard every day, and that is kind of the example that I go by. My avenue for working hard is a lot different from his… I come in here and I push myself every day, I don’t call in sick, I don’t miss training sessions. I always push myself to be better, to find that next edge.”
Perhaps his highest profile fight was at the Cross Center in Bangor, Maine, on the “NEF: Dana White Looking for a Fight” card. Against John Santos, it was the only one of Lacey’s professional fights to go to a judge’s scorecard. During the contest, Lacey was clipped and ended up having to fight from underneath, giving him an opportunity to live up to his “Relentless” nickname. “It takes one shot,” he remembers. “I woke right up, there was no way I was going out like that.”
Later in the fight, Santos was looking to rile Lacey up with words. When asked if this bothered Lacey, he responded with a smile. “You can talk trash all you want, but you’re the one that’s got your back against the cage, you’re the one getting hit in the face. You wanna talk, you wanna talk. I’m just gonna keep hitting you in the face.”
The fight on the 11th is a challenge in that Chris Jacobs, while only having one professional fight, has a lot of wins under his belt as an amateur. It is difficult to find footage of his fights, so Lacey doesn’t have the luxury of scouting his opponent, and fear of the unknown is often one of the scariest parts of stepping into the cage. What is known is that most of Jacobs’ wins have come by decision, while Lacey has stopped most of his opponents.
“It’s gonna be a grinding, grueling fight,” Lacey says. “He’s gonna try and drag it into the deep waters.”
Jacobs has a hard job ahead of him.
“To me, the world ends Feb 11th. This is what it all culminates to, the pinnacle of everything.”
In the end, we talked about Superman. After all, the man spends so much time in and around the cage, he loves to have a break now and again.
“I can be the meathead fighter, act all tough and macho, but I can also be the nerdy comic book guy.”
Catch “Relentless” Aaron Lacey’s fight against Chris Jacobs, as well as 21 other MMA bouts, at NEF 27: Resurgence, Saturday, February 11th at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.