Armbars, if you’re not aware, are Rousey's thing. She's fought nine times (six as a professional) and ended each contest with an opening-round hyperextension.
So what makes the effort over Tate more impressive than her 54-second tapout of Sarah Kaufman in August, or any of the tremendous (and numerous) joint locks or chokes that came from the men’s side?
Rousey and Tate despised one another and that permeated everything they did prior to, during, and after their Strikeforce 135-pound title fight in Columbus, Ohio. Rousey would have ripped Tate's left arm from the socket if she could, and she certainly tried, bending the appendage in a gruesome direction during an early first attempt.
Tate's defense allowed drama to intensify; meanwhile, her limb had been contorted during several excruciating sequences and, eventually, was injured, though never to the point of breaking.
We learned later that Ronda’s mother, like her daughter an Olympic judoka, roused Rousey when she was a kid with commands like “always be ready, armbar now!” Talk about taking something to heart. Understandably, Rousey and the armbar now seem perpetually linked.
Nature. Nuture. Whatever the case, Rousey is a force to be reckoned with, and the finish of Tate exemplified that as well as anything she did all year.
Rousey’s athleticism, skill, competitive spirit and grittiness, combined with the ability to execute a signature submission, propelled the 25-year-old blonde Californian into the UFC and onto the cover of ESPN The Magazine, and delivered more opportunities in 2012 than even her most loyal supporters might have thought possible.