Despite Rousey dominating the bout with her incredible judo throws and submission attempts, Tate forced the champ into the second and third rounds, becoming the first opponent to last longer than five minutes against the Olympic judoka.
In doing so, the challenger forced Rousey to show off more of her game, allowing fans and critics the chance to see the UFC champion's full potential.
We saw Rousey on her back, we saw her in a slugfest, we saw the contents of her gas tank, and we saw her striking game more clearly than ever.
...And we saw her dominate.
Rousey looked better than Tate everywhere this fight went (including on the feet). This was a shocking revelation, given the fact that many saw the challenger as the better, more experience striker.
The two women pushed a furious pace throughout the bout, and Rousey never slowed or looked tired. In fact, Rousey completely overwhelmed Tate on the ground in Round 3, as she earned the armbar finish after Tate was unable to escape what was the third submission attempt of the night.
While Rousey looked phenomenal, Tate did have her moments.
The challenger secured one takedown on Rousey in Round 1, so we finally saw the champion in an unfavorable position.
Like any great champ, Rousey maintained her cool, and methodically worked back to her feet. Any time Tate found herself in a dominant position, Rousey adjusted, escaped and reset.
This was exactly the type of performance we needed to see from her, a performance in which she didn't simply throw her opponent to the mat and wrap up an arm in under one round.
Moving forward, however, there is still plenty of room for Rousey to grow.
Her rematch with Tate at UFC 168 certainly showed off her full game better than any previous bout, but it still consisted mostly of throws, smothering ground control and armbar attempts.
If somebody, like Rousey's UFC 170 opponent Sara McMann, can prevent the champ from executing this game plan, how will she react? Her striking looked improved at UFC 168, but Tate was never known as a technical striker, either.
How can Rousey react to somebody significantly better than her on the feet who can also block a throw or two?
These are the questions that remain unanswered, but for now, Rousey's performance Saturday evening is undeniably praiseworthy.
The one trick that got Rousey where she is today is still her most polished skill, but the rest of her game is developing, a fact that will put the women's bantamweight division on notice.