Coupled with the wisdom of Zahabi and the leadership of Tristar’s most famous and successful representative, Haqparast believes he’s taken a considerable step forward in advance of his return this weekend.
“Firas Zahabi in my opinion is the smartest coach in the game,” said Haqparast. “He’s like a genius; he’s so smart about everything and the results speak for themselves. The improvements I’ve made since I have been with Firas have been incredible.
“In the beginning, everything was so different because I come from a different school and started with Dutch-style kickboxing; just going forward, throwing punches,” he continued. “It took a year to really get used to the style and since then, I’ve put everything together and the development I have made between fights is crazy.
“For me, the improvement is the most important thing,” Hasparast added. “I don’t train for a fight. Some guys, they only train six or seven weeks for their fight, to get in shape, but that’s why I love Tristar so much and think Georges St-Pierre is such a good role model for the sport — he’s coming to the gym twice a day and he’s retired.
“He’s accomplished everything there is in the sport and he’s still training so much because he loves to improve and to have that energy around you is infectious.”
With the injury that scuttled his fight with Makdessi long since healed and eight months worth of improvements in the books since his last outing, Haqparast is eager to make the walk to the Octagon for the fourth time this weekend and prove to everyone that he’s definitely a name to remember in the talent-rich lightweight division.
“I don’t like to give predictions; I don’t like to say, ‘I’m going to finish him; this or that.’ The only thing I know is that I am going to be victorious because I did everything in my power possible to prepare for this fight.
“You cannot train more than I did. You cannot sacrifice more than me. I have the best coaches. I didn’t cheat on my training or skip anything. Everything in my life is based on this sport, so that’s what gives me a lot of confidence.
“We’re ready for everything,” he added. “We’re ready for a big war and (Saturday night), you’re going to see an amazing fight.”