Having produced martial artists such as two-times Olympic winner judoka Udo Quellmalz and heavyweight world champion boxer Max Schmeling, Germany has had its share of prize fighters. Nevertheless, over the years, the caliber of the country’s MMA stars has not matched that of its traditional martial arts. This may be about to change, however, with the arrival of Nasrat Haqparast who is currently on top of his game, says Ben Wolf from FITFORBEACH, a German sports site. Haqparast made his UFC debut in October 2017 when he faced off against Poland’s Marcin Held. While he lost that fight, more recently, things have turned around for the MMA star, promoting some to say that he is the next big thing on the UFC circuit.
Some of Haqparast’s most memorable fights have included a bout with England’s Marc Diakiese at UFC Fight Night 134 in Hamburg in July last year. He then faced France’s Thibault Gouti at UFC Fight Night 138 in October last year and Brazil’s Joaquim Silva at UFC on ESPN 5 in August this year—he won both bouts. In fact, his win over Gouti earned him the Performance of the Night award.
According to the legendary MMA star and grappling coach Firas Zahabi, Haqparast is just what Germany needs right now to promote the growth of the country’s MMA scene. Following Haqparast’s win over Gouti, Zahabi told the media that he believes that Haqparast has what it takes to be a future UFC champion, reports MMA Fighting. And Haqparast could not be happier. “Honestly, I’ve heard that a lot from him,” he told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “Firas is a guy that doesn’t compliment a lot of guys too much; he doesn’t want to make people cocky. He tells me a lot that, ‘You’re going to be a world champion, just stick to the plan that we’re doing now,’ because he knows how I live my life. He sees the work and dedication through my lifestyle and with his knowledge from building fighters like Georges St-Pierre, I think we can repeat it.”
“After one or two more fights they should put me as the main event in Germany. First of all, my fighting style—if I was a lay and pray guy nobody would be excited — but I’m a good striker. In Germany, the market is there but we don’t have a star. We just need to make more action and then bring the UFC to Hamburg, Germany next year. For sure, [I can be the next German star], but I don’t think about things like that. I think about my fighting style and that’s what makes you a star, right?,” he said.