UFC 246: Nasrat Haqparast: The Forgotten Prospect Who Must Reignite His Flame
By James Lee
As Nasrat Haqparast prepares to take on his toughest career test on the weekend, I truly hope the sport hasn’t forgotten about one of its most substantial prospects.
If they have, they are about to be reminded. The Afghan lightweight is just 24 years old and as many note others as those to look out for, Haqparast rarely features on that list.
His time in the sport’s biggest promotion began just two years ago and although his activity hasn’t been as swift as other people tipped for gold, his talent means he doesn’t deserve to be forgotten.
Maybe many forgot because his UFC debut didn’t go to plan. But again, taking a veteran in Marcin Held to a competitive decision in his professional infancy is nothing to be ashamed of.
I’m sure if you were to ask Haqparast about that, he would say that everything has changed since and his performances subsequently prove that.
Marc Diakese has proved on several occasions how problematic he is and Haqparast shut him down over three rounds back at UFC Prague, in 2018.
Another decision over Thibault Gouti a few months later secured stability in the UFC, but last August was where he showed signs that many saw in smaller promotions in Germany on his rise to the sport’s pinnacle. Aside from his debut loss in December 2012, he won 10 fights before his UFC debut, all by finish. All knockout’s at that.
With all eyes on Colby Covington in Newark, Haqparast stole the show with his knockout of Brazilian Joaquim Silva. The finish won a performance bonus to go along with the fight of the night bonus he shared with Gouti at UFC Moncton the year prior.
This Saturday’s fight with Drew Dober, but more importantly the UFC 246 spot, presents him with the biggest opportunity of his career. There is no question a McGregor show brings the biggest eyes that the sport can offer.
We have seen many benefit from it in the past and Haqparast has every chance to do the same on Saturday. He can use McGregor’s attention in the short term, but ultimately, his talent is too much that one day he won’t receive his own mainstream heed.