Colby Covington is just like every athlete out there in that he does not like to lose.
A former standout wrestler at both Iowa Central Community College and Oregon State University, Covington suffered his first pro loss in December at the hands of Warlley Alves. It snapped his eight-fight win streak that had included three consecutive wins with the UFC.
Now, the American Top Team welterweight prospect is looking to get back into the fold and compete again later this year.
“I think you lean more from losses than wins because it keeps you hungry to go get your hand raised next time out,” said Covington, during a recent interview with CagedInsider. “But this one just doesn’t sit right with me.
“I’m eager to get it back in the future.”
Covington admitted that he suffered a rib injury in the lead-up to the contest, something Alves took advantage of before locking in a guillotine choke at UFC 194. Along with getting his body healthy, the 27-year-old has also been clearing his head since the contest.
“I spent about a month back home in Oregon healing up, then got back to American Top Team in Florida,” he said. “I’ve been working on my striking a lot until my rib is good enough to grapple.
“I had a great talk with one of my coaches, (former WEC champion) Mike Brown, about (the loss) and I feel better about my future and correcting my wrongs. It’s a long career and the best champions always come back stronger from adversity.”
Following five wins on the regional circuit, Covington locked up a spot in the UFC in 2014. He headed over to China for his debut, earning a first round submission via strikes over Wang Anying. Later that year, he submitted Wagner Silva in Brazil.
Covington started off 2015 with a bang last May, picking up a decision over veteran Mike Pyle. That set the stage for the meeting with Alves, who is unbeaten and a former Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner. The bout, though, is one he has yet to see again since it went down live.
“It would be too hard to watch right now,” Covington admitted. “I’ll use it as motivation and watch it a couple times when I get my next fight. Every fight is a learning experience, win or lose. I know I made a mistake to go into the fight at less-than 100-percent and I paid the price, so lucky for (Alves).”
While nothing has been set or discussed, Covington is targeting May for his return to the Octagon, adding “I’m hoping (by then) I’ll be healthy enough to go compete. Right now, I just want to be active and fight as often as possible so anyone works (for an opponent).”
Still young in his career, Covington did have some good advice for future fighters out there.
“Train smarter, not harder,” he said. “But it’s a trial and error process and I firmly believe I will be world champion in the UFC before my career is over.”