Dylan Lockard up for the challenge in NEF 39 lightweight title fight

When it comes to his 2018, featherweight prospect Dylan Lockard admits the year started off disappointingly, but he was able to turn things around and close it out on a high note.

Following a loss to Shane Manley at CES in February of last year, Lockard rebounded with back to back wins over Branden Seyler and Anthony Wright for the CES in August and October respectively to close out 2018.

“It kind of started out bad, I had my first loss, but it ended up being a good thing,” Lockard told MMAWeekly.com. “I learned a lot from it.

“I came back and had two tough fights and won both of them. It ended up being a good year. I feel I grew the most as a fighter last year for sure, and I’m just looking to build off that when I get back in the cage this year.”

In the seven months since his win over Wright, Lockard feels like he’s made even more improvements to his game and is eager to showcase the additions he’s made.

“I’ve been trying to fight for a while but I’ve had two fights fall through on me; guys getting hurt and stuff happening,” said Lockard. “I’ve been in camp for like five or six months it feels like.

“It’s been discouraging not fighting, but it’s kind of been good because I’ve gotten so much better, and I can’t wait to show all of that.”

On June 22 in Lewiston, Maine, Lockard (5-1) faces Jesse Erickson (9-7) in the 155-pound championship main event of NEF 39.

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“Jesse is tough,” Lockard said. “I’ve seen he’s a durable guy who likes to come forward and push the pace. When it goes to the ground he’s got a good ground game, is a brown belt is Jiu-Jitsu.

“I’m moving up to 155 pounds for this fight from 145 pounds, so it’s going to be an interesting challenge. I think we match up well and it’s going to be an exciting fight.”

While he’s willing to make the move to lightweight when needed, Lockard sees his future at featherweight, and hopes to close out the second half of 2019 much busier than it began.

“I had so many fights fall through, and this opportunity came up on short notice, and I just took it because I wanted to get back in there,” said Lockard. “I’ve fought at 15 pounds a couple of times in the past, but I’m definitely a natural 145-pounder.

“I want to get in a bunch of fights this year, but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out for me so far. Hopefully I’ll get in this one, one in July, and still get in like three or four (total) this year. I’ll just keep fighting, winning, and we’ll see what happens.”