But then his fight in February fell through due to travel issues. Then his next fight was cancelled. Then another. And before he knew it, it had been 364 days since his last fight before he'd suit up again. A year of his young professional career, largely wasted on the sidelines.
"I have not stopped. I have not taken a day off. I've just been grinding straight out," Lacey said.
Lacey's lone fight in 2017 came at Combat Zone 64, a loss to Vovka Clay. The fight was stopped despite him desiring to continue, and it became his first pro loss.
"I definitely was pretty depressed about it for a while," Lacey said. "Especially after the year I had, I was really looking to showcase what I could do."
Since then, he's taken a new approach to how he views mixed martial arts, which has allowed him to collect himself.
"It just kind of made me recommit to the whole thing, and kind of fall back in love with the sport," he said. "Really enjoy the training and go back to my roots and why I got back into it. I kind of lost sight of that I guess, getting caught up in the fight game and all of that stuff."
A refocused Lacey now returns to NEF for the first time since that November 2016 fight against Taylor Trahan, as he squares off with Josh Parker (6-9-0) this coming Saturday at NEF 32. Lacey has taken notice of Parker's strong guillotine and clubbing forearms, but feels confident in his ability to top him. And should he move to 5-1-0 on his career, it'll be the beginning of what could be a strong 2018.
"The Patriots are playing the Super Bowl, so I'm hoping I go get a win," he said. "Patriots win the Super Bowl. My birthday is next week, so that would be a pretty good start to the year compared to what last year was. So that's what I'm hoping."