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UFC fighter takes another swing at WSOP Main Event

Updated July 8, 2024 - 6:45 pm

In the UFC octagon, Colby Covington must figure out his opponent’s strategy and adjust accordingly.

It’s the same at the poker table.

Covington, the former interim UFC welterweight champion, battled Sunday during Day 2ABC of the World Series of Poker Main Event at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas.

“Just like fighting, in poker you can’t let your emotions play into it,” Covington said during the first break. “It’s a mental fight out there. There’s a lot of math involved and a lot of skill and being good under pressure. I feel like I thrive in those situations.”

The $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship continues Monday with Day 2D and is guaranteed to be at least the second-largest in history. WSOP officials reported there were 9,288 entrants at the start of play Sunday. Registration remains open until approximately 4:40 p.m. Monday, meaning the field could approach 10,000.

The record for the largest Main Event was set last year when 10,043 players entered.

Covington started playing online poker when he was a member of the Iowa wrestling team during the 2008-09 season. He eventually made the shift to live tournaments and had numerous small cashes at events in Florida.

Covington won the $1,100 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha Eight or Better event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for almost $26,000 in 2022. He has almost $213,000 in live tournament earnings, according to Hendon Mob Poker Database.

This is Covington’s third Main Event, though he is looking for his first cash. He said he was eliminated during the first hour of his Main Event debut when he ran kings into aces. He made Day 2 last year.

Covington was hoping to last longer this time. After spinning up his stack to close to 150,000 chips, Covington said he lost a set-over-set hand prior to the first break Sunday and was hovering near the 60,000-chip starting stack.

“I’m just going to make the best decisions possible, just like in a fight,” he said.

Covington (17-4) hasn’t fought since December when he lost a unanimous decision to welterweight champion Leon Edwards at UFC 296 at T-Mobile Arena. Covington revealed after the bout on social media he sustained a broken foot during the opening round.

Covington channeled his energy while recovering toward his charity America’s Champions Foundation, which supports military, law enforcement and first responder families.

“Now we’re just looking for the biggest and best opportunities out there,” Covington said.

UFC 306 is scheduled for Sept. 14 at Sphere, and Covington is hoping to be on the card. He was critical of Ian Machado Garry following Garry’s win at UFC 303 and previously called out Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.

“I’m going to let the company decide who the biggest and best business is,” Covington said. “Whoever they decide is necessary, I want the biggest fights and I’m going to come out and show that the last fight was a fluke. I was injured, and I’m the best welterweight still on Earth right now.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on X.

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