Conor McGregor could not have played this any better.
Sure, it wasn't part of his Jedi plan. Does anyone think Poirier wasn't on his way to winning? But McGregor has earned the punchers-chance benefit of the doubt. We've seen him come back to KO Chad Mendes. Poirier is no Mendes. He possesses the toughness to weather that storm and he's matured into a fighter that loses only to generational talent. He's not a Khabib, he's not a GSP, but he's every bit a Chuck Liddell or Rich Franklin.
And what is Conor? It's becoming more obvious that Conor is no longer a fighter, he's now just a troll. But he once was a generational MMA talent, and if he can keep you believing he's still a generational talent then he can keep the big money opportunities. He was likely not far from making it difficult to maintain that belief.
Then he got his offramp. It's a mulligan. He gets an entire year to troll from the sidelines. Spin yarns about microfractures, descend into alcoholism, and say wild shit about off-limit topics. With it comes attention and a build-up to a fight he has no business being offered. No one will expect him to win, but he will have stayed relevant and lucrative for an entire bonus year.