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Aljamain Sterling feels snubbed for UFC 249 title shot just like Isiah Thomas was for ‘Dream Team’

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In case you’ve been living under a rock, ESPN’s “The Last Dance” 10-part documentary series which documents the Chicago Bull’s dominate title run in the 90’s led by none other than Michael Jordan, has taken the television and streaming world by storm.

It’s even surpassed Netflix's “Tiger King” as the world’s top documentary, both of which have garnered millions upon millions of views thanks in large part to the current COVID-19 lockdown rules.

Among the key focal points of “The Last Dance” is Jordan’s beef with Isiah Thomas, the Hall of Fame point guard who took the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back titles in the late 80’s at the expense of Jordan and his Bulls. What started as a simple competitive rivalry slowly transformed into one of them most bitter beefs in NBA history.

After Jordan and the Bulls finally got over the Detroit hump and managed to win their second straight title in 1992, he led the legendary “Dream Team” — a squad made up of the 11 best players the NBA had to offer and one college player — to Olympic gold in Barcelona, Spain.

Coincidentally enough, Thomas — who is considered one of the best NBA players ever — was not on that history-making team, which throttled all of the opposition by an average of 40 points a game. To this day, legend has it that it was Jordan who made the call to keep Thomas off the team, though he was quick to deny that claim.

Personally, I would’ve inserted Thomas over Chris Mullins and Christian Laettner in a heartbeat.

During one of the more recent episodes, Thomas expressed his disappointment after being left off the team, saying he didn’t understand why he was passed over since he met the criteria to the letter. His comments have now become a hilarious video meme. It’s a feeling Aljamain Sterling can relate to, as he took to Twitter to post the clip (via Bloody Elbow’s Anton Tabuena) after feeling that he himself was snubbed by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for a Bantamweight title fight against Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 after Jose Aldo was forced out.

Instead, the promotion pegged former division champion, Dominick Cruz, to face “Triple C” this Saturday (May 9, 2020) in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a head-scratching move to some, Sterling included, as Cruz hasn’t competed in over 2.5 years and is coming off a loss.

In all fairness, Cruz was the longest reigning champion of the 135-pound division, and his loss to Cody Garbrandt was his first setback in eight years, and just the second defeat of his storied 15-year career.

Sterling — who is taking getting passed over all in stride — has won four straight and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2017, which he feels is more than enough to meet the championship criteria. No fret, pending the outcome of Saturday night’s fight, “Funkmaster” is in the driver’s seat for a shot at the winner, though Petr Yan will likely have a say in the matter, too.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 249 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 249: “Ferguson vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.